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


Telmo Languiller


Speaking with an accent

Country of Origin: Uruguay

Not having an English speaking background can be difficult at times. The challenge is, having to be twice as good to be considered equal. Nowadays having an accent and a different background is celebrated; however, some institutions still hesitate to hire people that have an accent, missing out on the potential that bilingual people bring. I consider myself as bilingual but most importantly bicultural.


Roberto Barajas


Leadership style at work

Country of Origin: Mexico

I found the Australian work-place extremely direct. It is standard to disagree and to challenge your colleagues without making it personal. It took me a while to feel comfortable being direct but I can appreciate the benefits of constructive and argumentative discussions


Frank Madrid



Country of Origin: Venezuela

When knocking at doors I soon realised I was going to have to develop very thick skin and learn to deal with rejection. The arts industry networks are as tight-knit here as they are anywhere in the world. Something I kept in mind was my mother’s favourite motto “Pa tras ni pa coger impulso” (never go backwards, not even to gain momentum).


Angela Correa


Expressing myself

Country of Origin: Colombia

I think my biggest challenge was being able to express myself as natural as I do it in my first language. I miss all the special ways we communicate non-verbally in Colombia and expressing humour the Colombian way! I think I have succeeded at speaking English fluently, but I believe I will never get to express myself as I do it in Spanish.


Paulette Arvizu


Being away from the family

Country of Origin: Mexico

Paco’s family is in Spain and mine is in Mexico. Every trip overseas has to be really well planned and we need to take turns going to Mexico one year and to Spain the other. Now that we have a baby being away from the family is harder, it breaks my heart to see her grow up without her grandparents, uncles and cousins. However, with the aid of technology, we get to see family every week (at least on facetime and skype), so they are kept up to date with Olivia’s development.


Maria Elena Chagoya


Transmitting my heritage

Country of Origin: Mexico

One of the biggest challenges I have encountered with shared custody is to teach my children Spanish and my Mexican values. Here children spend most of their time speaking English, so it is hard for them to embrace the language and the traditions. However, I try my best to celebrate and pass on my Mexican heritage to them.


Oscar Jimenez


Real connections

Country of Origin: Colombia

Sydney is a very fun city; however it can be very superficial so you must look deep for real connections. Living in Bondi, a very touristic spot, I had the opportunity to make friends from all around the world. At the beginning it was hard to have a sense of home as I would often hang out with tourists. Only in the last years in Sydney I felt I had made meaningful connections.


Glenda Mejia


Take pride in yourself

Country of Origin: El Salvador

I have a big issue with talking about how good I am at something as I find it arrogant and pretentious. However, in Australia you need to do it as it is very competitive. When you are after a job or a promotion you have to say that you are the best of the best in order to get the job or be promoted.

Alejandro Saravia.jpg

Alejandro Saravia


Travelling home

Country of Origin: Peru

South America is not around the corner. Having lived away from Peru for a while, got me used to not seeing the family that often. However, during the first years of living in Australia I was not able to attend celebrations that I would have loved to be there but I knew that was the price I had to pay to achieve my goals. It’s only been in the last 4 years that I have the means and time to travel.


Cristian Trujillo


Being nobody

Country of Origin: Chile

When I first moved I faced the fact that I was nobody – nobody knew me and since I couldn’t communicate, my knowledge and work experience had zero value. After learning the language, I could show what I was capable of and things just got better and better.


Maggie Alonso


Start from zero

Country of Origin: Mexico

Coming to Australia was not difficult, the challenge was to start my life again; to recreate myself. It was hard to leave my pride on the side and accept that I was in a new country where no one knew who I was. My resume meant nothing unless I proved what I was capable to do the job.