Immigration Challenges: What we learned this year in Latin Stories Australia

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Victor del Rio


Establishing an identity

Country of Origin: Mexico

One of the biggest challenges is to recreate your identity; when you are in Mexico you miss Australia but when you are in Australia you miss Mexico. You feel you don’t belong anywhere; however, you need to realise that you actually belong to both.

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Arturo Morales


Starting a business

Country of Origin: Mexico

The biggest challenge for Los Amates was to be accepted and recognised as an authentic Mexican restaurant. People had misconceptions about Mexican cuisine and our culture. Initially I had to cope with a lot of ‘funny comments’. However, once people tried our food they became regulars.

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Claudia Oliveira


Different perspectives

Country of Origin: Brazil

Getting used to particular Australian’s way of doing things was a little bit challenging. A simple example is when my eldest, Clara, was invited by a friend at school to her first birthday party. I asked if I could bring Raquel as well. The answer was no! I was so mad! But a Brazilian friend of mine explained how children’s parties here are very organised and controlled events, and I shouldn’t take it badly. This kind of tip is always very helpful.


Laura Marinesco


Work-place environment

Country of Origin: Argentina

Prior to my time in publishing, working in IT was and interesting experience. Even though at Computelec I had female colleagues most customers and technology partners that I had to deal with were male. IT was boys club, so getting to be noticed was not a problem, but getting to be trusted required effort. I had to prove my ability and proficiency. However, this made me more resilient and determined.

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Juanita Esposto



Country of Origin: Argentina

While you will always miss family, we were happy in our new life. However, one of our sons, John, was unhappy. He missed Argentina a lot so for us it was important to understand his feelings and supported him. He went back to Argentina several times. We also used to travel quiet often to avoid homesickness.

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Hugo Salcedo


Settling in

Country of Origin: Colombia

As with the majority of newly-arrived people, I faced several challenges to settling in such as loneliness, lack of money, inability to access information, and lack of contacts. Several times I considered going back to Colombia, but I always decided to stay (mainly for my son). However, once I found my opportunity, I focused on it, and I have never looked back.

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Yunuen Perez


Build your reputation

Country of Origin: Mexico

The biggest challenge has been to make a name for myself in a competitive industry. When you migrate to another country (and it happens to everyone), you commence to write your destiny on a blank piece of paper. Regardless of the practice or field, the challenge is to make your skills and experience count on this new canvas.

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Claudia R. Alvarez


Get the local experience

Country of Origin: Mexico

While searching and failing to secure interviews even for entry level jobs, I finally stumbled across a German recruiter who told me very abruptly that I was never going to find a job because I had no local experience. Her advice was to do voluntary work. She also mentioned that after my first “local” job, it would be really easy to get the next ones. I followed the advice and I noticed the difference.


Alirio Zarvace


Understanding the system

Country of Origin: Venezuela

The language was the first barrier I encountered as I had to learn everything all over again. Even though I spoke English, the Aussie slang is another thing altogether. It is not just the words, it is the whole system. For example, I found myself making sentences to try to explain the meaning of my words, to transmit my sense of humour and even to explain our food. It takes time, until one day your brain not only starts thinking in English, but also understanding the whole system.

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Eyal Chipkiewicz


Professional career

Country of Origin: Venezuela

The first couple of years I had to accept the professional retreat that moving to Australia means to many migrants. My years of experience as a designer were meaningless to the local industry. I was fortunate to meet people who pointed me in the right direction and helped me get some early experience.

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Angel Calderon


Rediscovering the joy of life

Country of Origin: Guatemala

I went through difficult moments, particularly when I felt vulnerable and alone. However, I have always encountered acts of kindness that saved me. Families have adopted me and strangers have gone out of their way to help me find work. Also, I shared house with Australian-born persons, this provided me with an opportunity to be immersed in the Australian way of life and make friends who have become part of my family.