(2/3) Australia took some getting used to. There were many foods that I’d never seen before – avocados, mangos, zucchinis… and it was strange to come from a small, mountainous village to a flat city like Melbourne. There were also cultural differences. For example, in Portugal, it didn’t matter how much money you had, you always put such an effort into getting dressed up, to have your hair done, and to be well put together, but people here at that time were so much more relaxed, and would look at us like what the heck are you doing? Are you going out to a party or something?
I also went to a very anglo saxon school and the children there were not very welcoming of people from other cultures. I got teased a lot about not speaking English well, and for having a strange accent. There were only 4 other migrant kids in the whole school and we congregated together – the misfits. Sometimes I would think – is this what I’m going to have deal with for the rest of my life? And that thought was really frightening.
But then luckily my school merged with another school which had a lot of migrant Greek children. After that, it became much easier. I found myself doing well at school. I even won a competition and used the prize money to buy my first bike.
If you would like to support this project going, please visit: www.youcaring.com/newhumansofaustralia
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Welcome to Australia.
I’m glad you have been able to make a good life here.
I experienced the same as an olived skin person coming into a school in 1997 with zero other immigrants. There was a lot of un-welcoming behaviour and even though I did speak English I didn’t understand Aussie slang so I got picked on too. I am glad you found your way. It takes time but you find where you fit 🙂
I love that you purchased your first bike with your prize money…onwards and upwards from there!
Hi silvia..thanks for sharing your story…and to Nicola-such a great project..very happy to support this so have just made a donation..hope more people are able to do so to keep it going. 🙂
It’s always the misfits that band together isn’t it! In many ways I’ve always tried to see the positive in these experiences – adversity breeds strength and that’s what makes many migrants here possess such tenacity and resilience given the fact they have to push through so much more to be able to find success. In a way those who belong to the majority do end up taking things for granted as they do not face the challenges migrants face, from the simplest to the most serious of things. ???? Glad that NHA is working to build these bridges. ❤️
I understand your school experience. My daughter was a few months away from her 5th birthday when she started in prep (state primary school) three days after arriving in Melbourne. She was the only dark skinned child in the school and some of the children asked her if she was Aboriginal; my husband who was dark skinned and curly haired would pick her up after school and this probably gave rise to the question. I only knew of the comment as she one evening she asked me “mum what is an Aborigine?”