Crossing the Globe (Vietnam &
By Julia Hursh
have had the opportunity to both learn about and see many signs of
migrations in my voyage around the world. Semester at Sea has opened my
eyes to new topics of people and culture all around the globe. I have
learned about human migration in both migrant-sending and
migrant-receiving countries. Then I was given the opportunity to go
into the country that I studied to find signs of human migration
pertaining to the topics discussed in class. While in some countries it
was difficult to find signs of human migrations, other countries had
very apparent signs of migrants.
particularly interesting for me to see signs of migrations in other
countries around the world and compare them to what I have seen near my
own home in San Diego, California. There are many Mexican migrants that
cross the border into the United States everyday. Unfortunately there
are many people that perish in their attempt to cross the border.
According to Stephen Castles and Mark J. Miller in The Age of Migration, an
average of one Mexican migrant dies everyday attempting to cross the
border from Mexico into the United States. This is a topic that I
encounter in the newspapers and on the nightly news in San Diego on a
regular basis. In my travels and studies I realized that this is a
common problem for migrants around the world.
products are a very different topic from humans, we also studied the
flow of goods from one country to another and more importantly the
effect of western influence on eastern cultures. I was surprised by the
amount of American brand names that I saw in many of the countries that
we traveled to on our Semester at Sea voyage.
listed on this website are just some brief examples of the signs of
human migration and western influence of products that I saw in the
countries we traveled to. The following is a comparison of migration
between Asian and European countries.
the following links to review the research papers that are discussed in
The country that I saw and
learned the most about migration in was Vietnam. I met a few separate
people that had stories of family members that had migrated to the
United States. This reminded me of the many Vietnamese people that
inhabit both Minnesota where I grew up and San Diego where I live
currently. Just down the street from my house in California is a hair
and nail salon. It is owned and staffed by all Vietnamese people, many
who are related to one another. They have all come to the United States
in the last four decades, some of whom originally came as refugees
after the Vietnam War. According to Castles and Miller, over 3 million
people fled Southeast Asia following the Vietnam War, one million of
them settling the Unites States. The authors go on to mention “In
1979 Vietnam introduced the ‘Orderly Departure Programme’ to permit
legal emigration, particularly of people with relatives overseas, that
was considerably stepped up in 1989” (p. 173). I think that this may be
the reason that many Vietnamese people are found in the United States
and it may be the case behind the business at the end of my street run
by Vietnamese people. According to the Overview of South Asian Diaspora,
a large percentage of Southeast Asians who migrated to the United
States were professionals. The publication also said that California
and New York have the largest populations of Southeast Asian migrants.
When I travel home I plan on talking with the Vietnamese people that I
know in San Diego to find out the stories of their migrations.
It is an
interesting dynamic to see Vietnamese people living in America and then
travel to Vietnam and meet people who have family members living in the
United States. I feel fortunate to have been able to experience both
ends of the spectrum. After traveling to Vietnam I have a better
understanding of the reasons people migrate to the U.S. and how it
impacts the lives of those still living in Vietnam.
that I found signs of human migrations in was Spain. In Spain the
migrants that I encountered were most commonly from Morocco. There were
some from Algeria and other African countries as well. According to the
article Migrations and
Mobility in the Euro-Mediterranean Area: A Problem for Governments, a
solution for Populations? By Philippe Fargues, 20% of Moroccans
have the intention to emigrate, many of who plan to immigrate to Spain.
Most of the Moroccans that I talked to in Spain did not mention how
they traveled to Spain or for that matter if they were legal immigrants
or not, but they did mention that the level of poverty in Morocco is
very high and that is why many people migrate to Spain. Unfortunately
the story for Moroccan migrants is similar to that of Mexican migrants,
many perish while trying to cross borders.
countries, weather it be Vietnam in Southeast Asia or Morocco in North
Africa, people are trying to find a better life. War is what pushed
many people out of Vietnam and poverty and civil unrest is what pushes
many people out of Morocco. However it is important to realize that
these are only two reasons that people migrate. People migrate to find
work, to escape war, to find religious freedom, to avoid political
unrest and sometimes because they are trafficked. These are just some
of the reasons that people leave their country for another one.
Whatever the reason may be however, migration is an important aspect of
every country that we traveled to. The globalization of migration will
continue, but hopefully as Castles and Miller mention, it will do so
with “the hope of increased unity in dealing with the pressing problems
which beset our small planet” (p. 290). Migration affects the
economies, cultures and populations of every country that we saw and
will continue to have an impact on those countries for a long time.
In conclusion, migrations
class changed the way I experienced each country. It also influenced my
thinking of the cultures and the people that I encountered. Rather then
just focusing on the country that I was visiting, I found myself
focusing on the impact and influence that other countries have on that
country. I did this by looking for the flow of migrants in and out of
the country and also by noticing the western influence of products,
stores and restaurants. At times it was difficult to find signs of
migration, but as I spent more time looking it seems I could always
find an American store or someone who had a story of human migration. I
left each country with a better understanding of peoples struggles to
find a better life, even if it meant leaving their country for a
different one. I also saw the immense impact that western culture has
on the economies of eastern countries. I learned a lot in my travels
and truly feel that Semester at Sea was a voyage of a lifetime.