My core subject is Global Migration Stories with two 1h-lectures and one 1h-tutorial per week. It’s great to be able to choose subjects and create your personal timetable; however, it’s complicated and you have to make sure that a) they are available for this semester and b) they are not clashing with each other (Note: I had to change twice!). Examining historical processes shaping migration is extremely interesting and it’s really rewarding to study with both Australian and international students having multiple nationalities.
Believe it or not, but I am slightly looking forward to the final exam of this subject – not because it’s being the final one (…), but rather because we are going to do some research and explore our own family migration story. From my experience, I can say that the more you have travelled and lived in different countries or continents, it makes you more aware where you are actually from or makes you think about your origin and even question it. I like to devote myself to the question about identity: how do we perceive ourselves in different environments, outside our comfort zone?
To be honest, I am always struggling to find the right answer to the very simple question “Where are you from?” (especially during Orientation Week, I wish I could’ve recorded this – it wouldn’t have been easier, but at least it would’ve saved some time).
“Hi, I am Hany, I was born and raised in Germany to Vietnamese parents, but I’m student from Sweden, now spending one semester in Australia.” And if I’d like to stand out even a little more, I’d add “Oh, and I have lived in France for a while, too.”, but you shouldn’t overexaggerate, I reckon. However, …
Germans wouldn’t guess that I’m German. Why? I don’t look like a German, but I’m familiar with the culture, I do speak the language (without any dialect thanks to Hanover’s cleanest German) and I do like beer.
Vietnamese wouldn’t guess that I’m Vietnamese either. Why? Apparently, I don’t look like a Vietnamese either. People – no matter where from – have been wildly guessing through a variety of countries and failed to find the right one. And with wildly guessing I’d like to recite someone: “Hum, you look like a Hawaiian girl to me, maybe with some Native American origins, but on the other hand, you seem quite European.” … I don’t know what to say.
Swedes wouldn’t guess… well, ok. You got my point.
In my view, I reckon that after having travelled and/or lived in new places, I usually pick those traits that characterise this specific place and make it to my own personal benefit; thereby, I feel like I’m growing personally and it feels good to learn from foreign cultures.
Let’s wait until the end of the semester and I’ll let you know what I’m going to gather from my Australian life!