13 Jun 2018

Changing Perceptions of Migrants



“Jenny had it the hardest,” said Jenny's father Glen. “She was having a baby in the UK and we weren't there. They kick you out after a day over there.”

My feet shuffled. My lips pursed. Three times I had had babies without my parents around. I disagreed with Glen’s negative description of having babies in UK.  During a deep breath I noted that what rattled me most was the change in Glen's perception of his daughter's time in UK.

While Glen's daughter was in UK Glen described everything to be okay over there; having babies, working, childcare, even the delights of a winter Christmas. It was all okay because it needed to be for Glen. Now Jenny is back in her homeland, her time in UK in hindsight is open to criticism. Glen's perception of Jenny's time in UK has changed.

Lady or Granny?
Musician or Face?
Our perception changes to suit us. We may be aware of the change.
Looking at the pictures, you can either see the two images easily or you have to work at it. Our perception can change subconsciously or consciously. Sometimes the perception adjustment can take a great deal of effort.

Both migrants and their loved ones have changes in perception of the migrant’s host country and homeland.



 Changing perceptions of a migrant. 

 πŸ₯› Glass half full or half empty
Perception Homeland
Perception Host Country

On leaving
Half empty
Half full
Excited about leaving. An adventure ahead
Culture  shock
Half empty
Half empty
Adjustment needed
Enjoying host country
Half empty
Half full

Homesick
Half full
Half empty

Acceptance of differences
Half empty
Half full
Half empty
Half full
As long as there is enough

Migrants’ loved ones changing perception. Mila leaves her homeland.


 πŸ₯› Glass half full or half empty
Perception Homeland
Perception Host Country

On leaving
Half full
Half empty
Can’t understand why she has to go.
Our place is good enough for us, why not for Mila?
Getting used to Mila being away
Half full
Half empty

Hearing Mila enjoying the host country
Half full
Half full
Mental adjustment. Being open-minded to Mila’s host country.
Visiting and having a good time in Mila’s new country

Half full
Half full
Making good memories in host country
If Mila returns to homeland permanently
Half full
Half empty

No need to adjust anymore


Migrant's perception changes for both the migrant's survival and for the migrant to get the most out of the country they have chosen to live in.

For the migrants' loved ones. 

When migrant's loved ones adjust their perception to embrace the host country the conversations can flow more easily which helps the to maintain a connection between the migrant and those they love.
The 'us' and 'them' feeling and language lessens.

If  migrant Mila returns to her homeland for good, the open and positive perception from her loved ones is less necessary. A conscious and or an unconscious bias against Mila's previous host country returns. Glen's language of using 'they' and 'them' and 'over there' revealed his  unconscious bias against UK.


Good to know:


  1. People's perception changes. Be aware of your changing perception or the people around you.
  2. The perception is often influenced by the fact that many people like to feel they are living in the 'best place.'
  3. The unconscious bias against a country or people can be changed. Reflective listening and gentle education helps to show people another perspective.  

  


"We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are." Anais Nin

Do you have expereinces of changed perception? Let me know in the comments.


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