Leaving Everything Behind: Why do People Immigrate?

Pack everything up, buy a ticket, and leave your home. There, no one knows you, and you might have to start from scratch. It will be difficult, especially with the amount of confusing paperwork. If things are going to be so difficult, why leave in the first place?

My family's choices led me to come to McGill. https://flic.kr/p/rxYHpc
My family’s choices led me to come to McGill. https://flic.kr/p/rxYHpc

There are a variety of reasons why people decide to leave their home country. The stereotype is that most are economic migrants. Jobs may be hard to come by or the pay is not good enough in their home country, so they leave in hopes of finding a better job in another. While this is true, it is not the only reason why people leave. There are political migrants who seek asylum in a more stable and secure country. Refugees, on the other hand, are those who are forced to flee because they face war, armed conflict, or persecution at home. They are subject to a different set of immigration laws from political migrants. All of these categories have the goal of finding a more secure life, may it be physically or financially.

There is the more unconventional type, the category that I fall under.

Some people choose to leave because they want to find a culture they want to live in, or simply to explore the world. In each country, one is raised with a certain set of values and traditions in mind. While these will spawn good characteristics, one may not necessarily agree with the entire culture. For example, I grew up in the Philippines, and the culture there is very religious and conservative.

While I am proud of the environment that I’m from, and the values that it has taught me, I did not fit in completely with the homogeneous environment which it offered. There are only a certain set of paths that you can take with your life in such an environment, and to deviate from them would prove difficult and mark you as strange. I am thankful that my environment changed for my post-secondary education because it allowed me to truly find a path that I wish to pursue.

Migrants are all searching for a specific thing, no matter the root of their reason for leaving: a more secure life that would give more opportunities than the one they left behind.