Exploring Immigration: A Student Perspective

Over the last number of years, our grade 9 students have participated in a project called Canada: Your Story is My Story.

This project involves students interviewing recent immigrants to Canada with the purpose of better understanding the immigration experience. After meeting and interviewing new Canadians, the students create multi-media narratives of the immigration stories – creating a documentary of each immigrant’s journey to this country.

Here’s a perspective from two of our grade 9 students who recently finished the project:
“Over the past three weeks, Grade 9 students had the pleasure of meeting immigrant students from the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. Of all ages and backgrounds, the CCIS students sat down with our Grade 9s to discuss their journey that has led them to Canada. The purpose of the assignment was to understand the immigrant journey and the struggle and sacrifices they encountered to come to Canada. Through three different sessions, we questioned and listened to the stories the CCIS students shared, intrigued about the sacrifices they had to make to come live in a new country.
A strong bond began to form between the immigrants and us because we found that most of our interests (e.g. soccer, listening to music) were also values to our new found friends. My group and I were privileged to meet Mr. Moon from South Korea. He came to Canada to reunite with his family since they had decided that Canada was the place they wanted to live. His youngest son was the first to request to come to Canada in order to seek a better education. Among many other things Mr. Moom spoke a lot about Kimchi, which was a traditional meal in South Korea.

We decided to create an analogy of Mr. Moon’s immigration through the Kimchi which symbolized his cultural roots. The lettuce is the outer-shell of the kimchi which shelters all the other ingredients in a safe bubble. The lettuce would be like Mr. Moon’s outer image that he prepared before coming to Canada. This worked similar to the lettuce because it kept all his emotions of traveling and leaving his home country enclosed and not shown to the public. The salt gives the kimchi stronger taste and bitterness. The salt relates to Mr. Moon’s small, but existing bitterness of leaving his home country. The red pepper flakes are spicy which increases the flavor. The red pepper flakes in Mr Moon’s immigration journey would be the excitement of going to a new country, the uncertainty of how “spicy” the trip will be. The green onions and ginger bring the happiness and feeling of success when your life in the new county begins to turn. Everything begins to go your way and the minced garlic is the awkward taste that leaves you healthier than before. Its the sacrifice that is really a blessing in disguise.

We all learned a tremendous amount from the stories the students shared with us and are thankful for having met such brave and determined people.”
You can read more about the project, including examples of student work, by clicking here.

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