My migration story by Debbie B

Good morning wonderful people!! Thanks to Ms Debbie for kicking off the #mymigrationstory series with her powerful story! Girl, you are beautiful and amazing! Thanks so much for sharing!


     When I got accepted into the University in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, I
was excited for many reasons. The biggest one being that I had finally gotten the
opportunity to migrate to another country for four years, to learn about different
cultures and gain new experiences.

  The first culture shock I remember experiencing was the fact that people
continuously stared at me and little children pointed at me. It then became
apparent to me that I was black. I know it may sound strange but the issue of race
never really occurred to me. I was born and raised in Sub-Saharan Africa and
everyone in my country was black, with the exception of a few foreigners. So I
wasn’t very aware of racial prejudice, hatred, xenophobia and the fetishizing of
black women. In spite of all those problems, I soon acclimatized to my
surroundings and developed thick-skin.
   In contrast to the negative experiences, I had some very positive ones. I
loved the culture. We all love food and I thoroughly enjoyed all the different
traditional Cypriot dishes and delicacies. The music was different and so were the
musical instruments, but they were quite pleasurable. They wore the same types
of clothes we did in my country so in essence, adapting to the culture was
relatively easy. Thanks to modernization, and the world becoming a global village,
youth sub-culture is the same across the globe.
     In terms of Politics and Governmental policies, I didn’t experience any
problems. I was not oppressed by the system and did not experience any form of
Institutionalized racism. I was never failed in class for being black and though
there were one or two racist lecturers in my university, the majority of them were
more informed.

 The most interesting dynamic to my migration experience was the people. I
got a lot of mixed reactions from the indigenes, who were all Mediterranean.
Some were Turks and some were Cypriots and there were other foreigners from
different countries in the world. Some of them were very friendly and helpful while others were openly racist and hostile and would try to deride, attack,
assault or fetishize me. The worst case of racism I ever faced was when I got
stoned by a group of Turkish boys for being black and they also hurled racial slurs
at me. Some other people were just curious and inquisitive, which I didn’t mind at
all. They asked me about my hair, clothes, culture and food and I was happy to tell
them all about it. Some even offered to teach me their language and culture and
introduced me to their food, which I found very interesting and enjoyable.
In conclusion, my migration story was a good one, holistically speaking. I
enjoyed all the aspects of their culture. There was no governmental interference
in my personal life and being that I’m a law-abiding citizen, I had no issues getting
my residence permit. In terms of racism, I developed a muscle and was able to
turn that negativity into positivity and use it as motivation to succeed in my
academics and in my life in general.


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