As discussed in my previous blog post, one of the challenges that migrants may face is language.
For most migrants, they may already have the skill of the second language of their foreign country. For example, when I arrived in Australia, English was my second or third language in Malaysia. Therefore, English language to us was not a major issue; however, to speak fluently and to write well grammatically took many years of practice and learning.
There may be families that came from countries where there was only one language spoken in their country, thus settling down with a second language may become a harder process.
Throughout the years, I have met migrants who really made the commitment to settle and get on with their new lives. They enrolled into English courses the moment they had the opportunity, stayed back after dropping their children to school and made the effort to communicate and connect with fellow parents from the school and the community.
One great example was an impressive elderly lady who migrated to Australia in her late 50s. Even though she did not have much education when growing up and could not read nor write, she enrolled in an English communication class in TAFE. She can now converse in basic English so that she is able to travel via public transport, make phone calls and enjoy life every day.
This is a remarkable effort on her part, as now she is in Australia, she is not confined to home, or feeling depressed and lonely. She was able to take advantage of the Australian multicultural community, visit surrounding suburbs and make friends along the way.
However, on the other hand, I have seen many eldery people who kept to themselves, and locked up at home on their own, while their children were out working. They are not willing to mix with the community, citing lack of language skills and being home-sick. They are truly miserable, unhappy and wished they were back in their own home country.
Truly this is not what you want when you move to another country. You want to make use of the new opportunities to learn new things, meet new people and soak in new experiences.
In Australia, the local councils and governments have made huge efforts to welcome migrants to this country. They have up free language classes in the local libraries or TAFE classes.
We are given choices in life. Grab it gratefully with both hands when opportunities arise; use this opportunity to grow and learn new life skills and soak up new experiences.
Don't sit in the fence, and hope for the better outcome so you can feel settled. Make it happen!
Free services in Australia:
Seek out your local libraries for English Conversation Classes: http://www.randwick.nsw.gov.au/library/library-events/english-conversation-classes and other libraries
Or ring your local council for assistance.