Category Archives: Canada or Australia/NewZealand

From Ice to Paradise (Canada)

As a young student in Canada, with no real source of stable income, I have come to value the education system as a way to better the conditions of my life. I’ve just received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta, where I have taken classes targeted toward becoming a teacher, as I am a firm believer in educating ... Read More »

Flipping the Switch of Home (Australia)

Flipping a switch can have any range of consequences, from turning on a light to launching a rocket. One of the most important switches, for an immigrant like me, is the switch that you flip when the country you live in becomes your home. The action of flipping the switch can be excruciatingly slow, for my husband and I it ... Read More »

Leaving Tonga Behind

“After miles of walking and restless nights, we finally came to a stop.” This is the story of how my dad and my mom had to leave their home. Tonga, a place where there is peace and hardly any violence. People would wake up to the sound of singing birds and a beautiful view of the beach and the sun ... Read More »

Immigration Story of Jay Furlong (Canada)

“It was like a Hawaii vacation that you would dream of, coming from terrible weather. But it was not a vacation. We were staying.” Growing up in the late 1960s in Edmonton, Alberta, Jay Patrick Kelly Furlong spent winters building campfires, playing ice hockey, riding snowmobiles and shooting cans with rifles in the woods. “We saw extended family much more ... Read More »

Craig Gibbs (New Zealand)

Craig was the first of his family to move from New Zealand and live in another country. He knew it was risky, but he was looking for opportunities that he couldn’t find in rural New Zealand. So he packed up all his belongings, which fit into only two suitcases, and left his friends and family behind him on a 6,500 ... Read More »

Koe Otua Mo Tonga Ko Hoku Tofi’a (God and Tonga are my inheritance)

My cousin arrived with news I no longer wanted to hear about. He told me my visa was approved and that I would be going to Hawaii. I told him I no longer can accept. The house I lived in was built by my Teti (dad). My teti was a sheriff and was very protective over our family. The island ... Read More »

From the South Pacific to Shoreview

I was darker than most, as were my kids, and had often gone through numerous racial encounters. I had been called ‘nigger’ or ‘bum’ by people who didn’t want to hire me or even by people on the street as I walked by with my children. I was born in Niuatoputapu, Tonga. It’s a small island and one of the ... Read More »

Starting off Fresh (Tonga)

Knowing that I would start a new life, my mind and heart continued to push me forward, making me actually do it while my feet were trying to stop. Which led me to today, knowing that if I had never come here, I would never be who I am right now. My name is Sylvia Wolfgramm and I was born in ... Read More »

The Unforgotten (Tonga)

It always dawned on me that once I leave, a part of me will be missing. Now a proud citizen of America, I must tell how and why I became the person that stands before you today. I am proudly known as Malia Imalata Tofavaha, mother of 4 wonderful kids, wonderful friend to many, and a soulmate to one. From ... Read More »

A Travel to the Past (Fiji)

I never wanted to leave Fiji, but my dad’s words got to me, and I knew I had to do this. There I was at the age of 45, ready to become a father for the first time. Ready to welcome my firstborn into the world, only to lose her before she was even born. All my hopes of ever ... Read More »

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