"I'm from Catalonia, and I left my country to learn English and look for a job. Now I live in Perú, after having lived in the UK for two years and a half where, among others, I started studying for a Masters degree at the University of Sussex and worked in different coffee shops. Along the way, this journey has meant changes, effort, new people, rebuilding my life in some aspects and supporting others — I think this is what migration means.
Most of my friends were migrants like me (some were also from Catalonia) and we were a big family in London before I moved for my studies, so I would say that I have supported migrants by strengthening ties, but I haven't collaborated with any NGO or activism for migrants solidarity. During my Masters, I took a module about Transnationalism, Diaspora and Migrant's Lives, and did research for an academic essay about welcoming refugee movements in my own country. I hope to apply this knowledge in my future activities and work.
In the meantime, I can speak to other migrants from experience. If you seek out positivity, you will find better experiences than what you were looking for at the beginning. Integration means going to a new country and feeling included: understanding the culture of this new home, learning the language and traditions without losing your own. Integration is not the imposition of rules, but understanding that we are all different and debating what is the best way to live TOGETHER, mixed, not merely in the same physical place.
Look for people who love you for who you are and not for what you have. And love as much as you can every single day! I've seen so many people just looking for money and they are neither happy nor useful to the development of society.
A few words for those from the host county: if migrants come to your country because they have to, it is likely that they had a hard life before and moving is probably the last option that they had to survive. Try to be sympathetic and understand that not everyone is as lucky as you are. Value your good fortune and help them to build their new life in your community. No one deserves to feel alone or lost. Unfairness and prejudices are what build insecurity.
If migrants are in your country by choice, this means that they will probably love your home if they find people that accept them as they are. Let them feel at home, and they will learn new ways to look at the world and your culture. Living together means understanding our differences and learning from diversity."
This story is brought to you in partnership with The Refugee Cultural Festival, 2017 edition. The festival was launched to encourage small, local actions to embrace diversity and support those forced to leave their homes due to war, famine and climate change. Learn more about the festival and donate by clicking here.