Before our class got into the immigration unit, my understanding on immigration was fairly vague compared to how it is now. I believe the reason for my minimal prior knowledge is because I’ve never had to experience immigration therefore I didn’t have to worry about it on a personal level. I was born at Mercy Hospital right here in Baltimore Maryland, and unless I was going on vacation I’ve never left the country before.
At the beginning of the immigration unit our class watched the 50 min version of the documentary I Learn America. I recommend this film to anyone who is looking to broaden their knowledge on the idea, and effects of immigration. One of the aspects that I wasn’t fully aware of was some of the journeys the kids went through to get to the United States. For instance Brandon, the kid from Guatemala spoke about how he along with other refugees would travel for days on foot without rest. If I remember correctly he began his journey in early December and he didn’t reach the United States until Christmas.
While we were watching the film I found it very admirable how Sandra the Polish girl felt that she could be herself in America. She had grown up being expected to follow the stereotype of a girl. Once she got to America she decided that she wasn’t going to follow those stereotypes. However she didn’t want to follow that stereotype l Anyone’s who’s seen the film would say that no moment solidified her Journey like when she won Prom Queen.\
Another thing that people have to keep in mind when they talk about immigration is the difficulty of learning a new language. Unfortunately this depends on your age when you immigrate to a different country. If you have someone who immigrates to a country when they are 2 years old they are going to have a much easier time learning a new language rather than a someone who immigrated when they were 17. One example of this was Sing, the Qing student from the movie that had moved to many places and he said that learned something like six languages.
Another downside to immigrating at a later age in the United States is that if you’re 18 or older then you’re considered an adult. In the case of Sing, he didn’t have the essential American education, despite the fact that he was obviously very smart. Sing was also 19 years old, and in the film he got in a fight. Luckily he didn’t actually hit the kid because if he did, Sing could have went to jail.
I still can’t imagine what going through immigration must like. One can’t think of truly relate to immigrants in this way until you have experienced immigration. I still praise anyone who has immigrated to a new land in order to find better life.