Family reunification, which is the most widespread form of immigration, was the justification behind Lina's attainment of a resident visa to Norway. The process was long-winded and slow. It's interesting to note that both Lina's brother and best friend, were denied tourist visas to come and visit us in Norway for vacation. The reason for this is simple; because they're Colombian.
Immigration to Norway
It's interesting to note that Oslo, the capital of Norway, now has an immigrant population of 27%. Norway attracts labor from abroad, particularly from Poland and Sweden, there is also a sizable number of immigrants from Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia. My take on this, is that Norwegians have over the years developed a smug attitude toward immigrants that came through implicitly with Lina, such as numerous comments on how lucky she was to have the opportunity of living there. The only reason she ended up in Norway was because of me and now we actually live in Colombia, so there's a lot of irony here.
Drawbacks of immigration for the individual
It's taken me a while to understand just how powerful the implications of your nationality are in terms of rights, power, self-perception, mobility and wealth. I suppose it is true that people to emigrate in order to seek opportunity elsewhere but at what cost? Culture shock, social isolation and cultural isolation, to name a few, are consequences of making the move.
As wonderful as moving around and living an international life may seem, the impact and logistics connected to a number of immigration issues, are severe and from my perspective, frequently dis-empower the immigrant. The number of Colombia I knew in Norway that worked in jobs that were far below their education and skill-sets, due to language and social barriers in addition to outright racism, was high.
Learning a Foreign Language
In my experience, the single most effective way of fitting in in a new country, is by learning the language. It may seem difficult and even like a waste of time but as an immigrant, this is the most effective way of learning to know the culture and gain employment - you are at an enormous disadvantage getting work if you don't speak the language!
Third Culture Kids
Lina and I married for love. We didn't think too much about the repercussions of our vastly different cultures and experiences and it seem we negotiate these differences on a daily basis. I find most people are better suited to and happier, staying at home.
Personally, having lived outside of Norway since early childhood and thereby fitting the description of a
Third Culture Kid,
to me, change and moving between cultures has become second nature. That is not to say however, that it's not without it's challenges because it is. One consequence is that you very much become an outsider, regardless of where you are, even in your passport country due to having different references, experiences, tastes and so on.
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