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Old 10-22-2010, 09:06 AM   #16
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I see often where people have managed to shield themselves for generations. I grew up in a conservative Dutch community though I'm American born and so were my parents. These days, Holland is quite liberal and diverse, generally very forward-thinking, but this community I grew up in is like it's own little bubble. The technology has advanced but the attitudes and traditions (and in many cases, the language) are frozen time from 100 or more years ago. Their idea of "participation" in politics does not extend beyond being nominated for Elder or Deacon at church or perhaps observing Synod. The rest of the world might as well not exist. I'm sure this sort of thing happens in many ethnic communities. We cannot assume that just because we were born into citizenship means we are any more integrated or any less influenced by archaic traditions and attitudes.
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Old 10-22-2010, 09:45 AM   #17
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maybe he's still bitter over being rejected by laura winslow.
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:44 AM   #18
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I think realistically speaking, sometimes that is easier said than done, even when people have the best intentions to integrate into their new communities.

How many of us posting here speak multiple languages completely fluently and can really appreciate the difficulties and cultural shocks of emigration?

I guess I'm a bit more laissez-faire on this issue.
Sometimes it is easier said than done... Sometimes being the key word. For example if you are 60 when you move to a foreign country. Learning a new language at that age is certainly not easy. But when someone in their 30's move to another country, and their children are born in that country and children grow up not being able to properly speak the language of a country they are living in - that is wrong. And that happens often, and happen usually because their parents only interact with people from their own culture, and they only speak their mother-tongue to their children at home. I have watched things on TV here in Germany - cases of children who are 11 and were born in Germany (their parents are immigrants) and the children can not speak german properly. And I know it is the same problem with large number of Hispanic people in the USA.

I am very familiar with the culture shock because I have lived in 3 countries, with 3 different languages, and 3 completely different cultures and attitudes. But every time I moved I tried to make myself fit-in and not feel like an outsider. But you have to want to do that.
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Old 10-22-2010, 12:26 PM   #19
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In Turkey and other countries there is whole diasporas of German retirees moving there to enjoy the sun for their last years. They are proud when the people around start to learn German, start to offer German products and start to provide services that remind those old people of Germany. They hardly adapt to the local cultures and don't even make an attempt at learning the language.
That is the great, sad irony.

What Liesje said is also true. When you go to the US or Australia as a German, and you meet German descendants there who still celebrate their roots, you'll see that they are celebrating something which is in fact 150 years or so old, ie. from the time when their ancestors move over. I always remember the German fest in South Australia, a town called Hahndorf. It was certainly an experience, but what you could see there as German culture was what you may see here at some traditional street festivities when they are celebrating times past. It's got nothing to do with today's Germany.

And when you visit Turkey and talk to the local people there, usually they'll tell you "The Turkish you have there, they are not Turkish for us. They are preserving a culture that doesn't resemble the modern Turkey."

My flatmate, who is Russian, now teaches German at an institution where young immigrants go who have trouble in school and are behind in learning. They can speak some German, if they really want even more than what they usually are willing to, but most lack even the most basic grammar. Often enough, willingly so. Those usually are third generation immigrants who are confused with their cultural identities. The Germans say "You are Turkish", and the Turkish say "You are German". And they are somewhere in between, with hardly any future prospects and living in a country, and a society, they haven't chosen for themselves and which doesn't seem too welcoming.
It's a vicious circle for them, and they have often times given up hope for their situation to improve.

Working with refugees and torture victims etc. adds whole different dimensions to the problem, where people are illiterate and unable to learn either the language nor how to write, even after years in special programs offered.
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Old 10-22-2010, 01:38 PM   #20
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maybe he's still bitter over being rejected by laura winslow.
Nice.

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My flatmate, who is Russian, now teaches German at an institution where young immigrants go who have trouble in school and are behind in learning. They can speak some German, if they really want even more than what they usually are willing to, but most lack even the most basic grammar. Often enough, willingly so. Those usually are third generation immigrants who are confused with their cultural identities. The Germans say "You are Turkish", and the Turkish say "You are German". And they are somewhere in between, with hardly any future prospects and living in a country, and a society, they haven't chosen for themselves and which doesn't seem too welcoming.
It's a vicious circle for them, and they have often times given up hope for their situation to improve.
That's incredibly sad. I wish your flatmate luck with their teaching efforts-hopefully they can manage to reach and help these kids somehow.

Your comment about society not being that welcoming, that's been one of my big arguments in regards to immigration. I've lived in areas where the biggest foreign population we have are Mexicans. And that's it, otherwise generally, it's about as white as white can get in many of the towns I've lived in. And I know that a lot of white people don't really interact with the Mexicans unless they absolutely need to. In Colorado, in the town I lived in, most Mexicans lived up in the affordable housing (my family lived there, too) away from the main town itself, and the town cut off bus service up there for the people (the area I lived in had a lot of really rich people running things, they tended to kinda look down their noses at the "affordable housing" people in general), so they had to find other means to get to work, if they could. They were generally not properly able to interact with the rest of the area. Similar stories in the other towns I lived in-they come in to shop and to go to work or school, and that's about the only time I ever came in contact with any of them. And I'm thinking, "Okay, how exactly do you expect them to integrate into our society when it's set up so that they're essentially isolated from the rest of the town?" Just as they have to put in the work needed to settle into society, so do we.

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Working with refugees and torture victims etc. adds whole different dimensions to the problem, where people are illiterate and unable to learn either the language nor how to write, even after years in special programs offered.
Excellent point. That's something to consider, too.

I fully agree if you move to a new country, you should, if you're able to, learn the language and customs of the area, if for no other reason than your own safety and for necessity purposes. But I can also see the frustration and the issues involved for those who come over and don't assimilate right away, and I have some sympathy for them, too. Both sides need to learn a little give and take.

Angela
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:51 PM   #21
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I have sympathy to a certain point. Unless you are Native American. Then your family came from somewhere else. By choice or force. I am amazed at how quickly some recent American citizens have learned english and are now speaking it fluently.

Arabic is much more difficult to translate to english. Than spanish. It is the same for folks who come from India, Russia. Germany, China and etc.

What bothers me is that in my neighbohood. There are families who have been here for several years, their version of spanish speaking (Mexican slang). Most of us who have taken several courses in "proper spanish" have no idea what they are saying. Are still refusing to speak to any of their english speaking neighbors. They are chosing to isolate them selves until the rest of us. Bend to their ways. This isn't helpful to their children who attend english speaking schools.

I don't think this is fair to others who come to America. Who choose it to be their home. I don't live in a rural area and ethnic diversity is very common. But, what should one group expect everyone else to change. When others don't.

My ancestors came from Ireland. Lived in Wales for a time. They mastered three different langauges by the time they came to America. They didn't expect America to cater to them. They simply wanted a chance at steady work and religious freedom.
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Old 10-24-2010, 03:13 AM   #22
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Living in a foreign country yet choosing to only hang out with people from your own culture and/or background, closes the doors to many other things.
It's funny, my parents - who are divorced - could not be more different in the way they chose to live here in Australia. My Mum has Australian, Russian, Turkish, German, Sri Lankan friends and acquaintances; my Dad, apart from whatever interactions he has at work, socialises exclusively with other Russian immigrants in a very closed-off Russian community. Part of it, I'm sure, is the fact that his speaking English is much worse than my Mum's, but it's also the plain fact that people from different countries have different mindsets and many people find it hard to bridge that difference and "get" each other.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:01 AM   #23
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Arabic is much more difficult to translate to english. Than spanish. It is the same for folks who come from India, Russia. Germany, China and etc.
I work as an English tutor at a local college and deal with immigrant students all the time. I've noticed the Russian, Chinese and Arab students have more difficulty with English than someone who speaks Spanish or such.

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What bothers me is that in my neighbohood. There are families who have been here for several years, their version of spanish speaking (Mexican slang). Most of us who have taken several courses in "proper spanish" have no idea what they are saying. Are still refusing to speak to any of their english speaking neighbors. They are chosing to isolate them selves until the rest of us. Bend to their ways. This isn't helpful to their children who attend english speaking schools.
When I worked in retail during my college days, I dealt with a lot of Spanish speaking immigrants. Some would try English, and when they did, I helped with whatever Spanish I knew. But there were a lot who didn't bother to try English and were quite rude. It was like I was the problem, and not them.

It makes me wonder what would happen if I were an immigrant to their country. If I walked up to someone and start speaking English rather than Spanish, wouldn't they get upset too?

As I said, when in Rome...
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:07 AM   #24
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Also, I heard that in some European countries, like Denmark, an immigrant has got to learn the language or they don't get a chance to be a citizen or get benefits. Is that really true? I had family who went to Denmark and they were told that.
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Old 10-24-2010, 08:29 AM   #25
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Yes, immigration policies in many countries have become more strict and in order to gain full citizenship you often have to prove a certain level of speaking the language.
Germany also introduced that. For anyone who wants to stay, and especially who wants to work, they have to take classes and then pass an exam both written and oral.
Depending on what kind of permit you are going for it's sufficient to pass a lower level (then you can stay, but may not work) up to having to speak on a native level.
The tests are pretty arbitrary, though, and as I said before, here in Berlin for example we have among the greatest population of asylum seekers and refugees world wide who are happy when they learn some basic German, and maybe some writing skills. But if they don't pass even the lowest level of German they'll be forced out of the country. So usually, when they are taking the exam they receive a little help so they get a sufficient grade.
My flatmate is writing her final thesis on this very subject, so she had access to the tests and could take copies with her. She also did the test with a great number of Germans at the "Night of the Sciences" and no one of them would've passed the test without mistake. That was not because their language was too bad, but because the questions were so badly formulated that no one got them right. It's pretty embarrassing.
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:58 PM   #26
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I work as an English tutor at a local college and deal with immigrant students all the time. I've noticed the Russian, Chinese and Arab students have more difficulty with English than someone who speaks Spanish or such.



When I worked in retail during my college days, I dealt with a lot of Spanish speaking immigrants. Some would try English, and when they did, I helped with whatever Spanish I knew. But there were a lot who didn't bother to try English and were quite rude. It was like I was the problem, and not them.

It makes me wonder what would happen if I were an immigrant to their country. If I walked up to someone and start speaking English rather than Spanish, wouldn't they get upset too?

As I said, when in Rome...



Though, it was a while ago. I took several courses in spanish. It was quite easy for me to read and write the language. Since, I am fluent in English. I had a little trouble with the "rolling r's". But, would speak it in class, anyway. Many spanish words translate directly to english. Drop the a or o at the end and you have it. French was more difficult. Less words are the same or simular in english. I studied french as a child, during my school years.

I bought some Irish language cds. Think spanish is tough. Try Irish. Letters will not have the same sound as their english counterpart. Words are not spoken as they are spelled.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:11 PM   #27
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This relates to the problem that I am having with my local Catholic Church. We have a Hispanic Pastor, a Hispanic Associate Pastor. an Indian Associate Pastor and a Vietnamese Deacon. I have trouble understanding any of them.
Our church has a Spanish and Vietnamses mass.
The Pastor's main ministry is to the Hispanic community. Many, many people are leaving this church or have already left.
I understand why we need diversity but these masses in Spanisha and Vietnamese, the result is not diversity but division.
Because of the separate languae masses, the rest of the parish does not get a chance to know or work with these groups and vice versa. I don't think this is doing the immigrants or the parish as a whole any favor at all, it's keeping us all separate. And the whole idea of the Catholic Church is supposed to be that we are all "one". The word "catholic" itself means universal. It's sad to see what is happening.
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Old 11-06-2010, 01:18 PM   #28
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we have the same problems here in Belgium. Immigration has failed big time. The 2 biggest cities are flooded by immigrants (there are more immigrant than Belgians) The most popular name for newborns is Mohammed

The problem here is that muslims complain that they can't get a job, they have no money etc... When 95% of the women in their families don't work (because it's their culture ) About 90% of them only speak arabic at home. And the boys are allowed to be on the streets and do whatever they want. Causing the fact that there are gangs of kids of 13 and 14 years who rob and annoy women and other people.

I'm a teacher in a primary school and I have to say that 95% of the parents hardly speak our language. Most of them never come to a school evening at the beginning of the year. 99% of them does not participate in any activity at school. We have a large group of parents who organize things, sadly we only have one muslim mother in that large group.

The children mostly (let's not say always) have huge language problems...because they don't speak our language at home.

Where I live, it's a smaller city; most catholic schools have 20-30% of muslims. There is even a school, that was an elite school before, which now has 95% muslims. And it's called St-Joseph. How about that? I have taught there for a couple of weeks (I even had to teach catholic religion-which is not my favourite, I'm baptised but that's about it, nevertheless I gave the lessons with commitment because most of them are about values and not Jesus) It was absolutely horrible. It was crowd control instead of teaching. The kids hardly spoke the language and had no discipline at all.

Where I work now, we usually have disciplinary problems with muslims boys. Girls are fine, they aren't allowed much at home. But a lot of those boys have absolutely no respect for women or even teachers.

On the other hand, I now have 2 muslims children in my class, and both parents came to the school evening, both of them speak are language. Finally some people who have integrated. But they are very hard to find.

Sometimes I see parents who have been living here for 20-30 years and they don't speak our language, not a word! Most men marry a young women from Turkey or Marocco because the muslims women over here are too emancipated in their eyes. They need a women who stays at home, keeps quiet, does the cooking, has children etc... There's been a documentary about it on tv...I just don't understand it... Things are going very wrong over here. I'm not a racist, because I have muslim friends, who are integrated.
Some of them even complain that other muslims watch them constantly and tell them not to drink or smoke or go out late. One of them even votes for an extreme right party because she thinks a lot of them abuse the system.

There are even streets where the cops won't go anymore because it's too dangerous...welcome to Belgium I guess
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:16 PM   #29
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The question of how immigrants should live in a new country is always a very complicated one and never a black and white issue. It's different in varying degrees in every country.

I think Canada is one of the best examples of immigration that works, or at least functions on a practical level. We've been dealing with issues of cultural differences and language differences since the inception of the country; very much so because of its roots as a region fought over between English and French during the colonial days.

The fact is that first-generation immigrants will stick to their own communities much of the time, and you see areas like neighbourhoods in Michigan or any city's Chinatown to demonstrate this.

The real brass tacks of it is how are we as a society going to get these immigrants' kids into a school system that not only helps them acclimate to our society, but also protects their own culture's beliefs and traditions.

It gets hard when immigrants' childrens' cultures are very conservative, such as those from Islamic countries. I think France's approach is wrong, and too nationalistic, but let's face it that's France. Almost too proud for their own good. The United States has a tradition as a "melting pot" where immigrating means giving into assimilation to a large extent. It's a tough line to walk.

The thing that pisses me off is when governments such as France's try to legislate cultural assimilation. It's a gentle process to get to immigrants' kids and give them different points of view apart from their very conservative cultural roots. Legislating it (banning head scarves for instance) only forces families to stick to being very conservative, or to pull their kids out of public school. It's not the right way to do it.

Kids who are exposed to a multicultural environment at a young age will grow up with a more liberal world view, or at least be used to coexisting with a varying array of people from a young age and be more accepting of the society in which they now live.
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:59 PM   #30
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we have the same problems here in Belgium. Immigration has failed big time. ....


Hello herci,

thank you for taking time to write this and share your experiences.

FYM benefits greatly from having different points of view.
I don't have much to contribute, here in California, most of the complaining is about Latino immigration.

If I moved to Morocco or Turkey and lived their for even 10 years, I don't think I would be able to abandon my western culture.
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