TITLE OF THE SUCCESS STORY
A successful integration
COUNTRY WHERE IT TOOK PLACE
AUTHOR OF THE SUCCESS STORY
Lower Secondary School
Integration of immigrants students
DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS STORY
The student is an immigrant from Romania in Portugal since he was 10 years old and this lower secondary school was the first he enrolled to in Portugal. The two major problems he faced on arrival at school were linguistic and making new friends. He managed to solve both difficulties in little more than one year due to the specific support he received from school.
At first he felt discriminated against due to the linguistic barriers to communication, but he was welcomed and there were no major obstacles to his integration. He likes school, he frequently uses the school library and he particularly likes Physical Education. The subject he least likes is Mathematics. He is part of the school sports and practices judo.
During his integration process he felt the support of his peers and of his teachers. He easily made friends and the linguistic barrier was more difficult to overcome.
In the future he would like to do something connected to sports, so he ties to perform well at school, so that he may have a future profession. He would like to go back to Romania, but only for a vacation and not to live. He likes the area he lives in where he may practice swimming and football with his friends..
He is not sorry he came to Portugal and feels that immigrating to this country and ending up at this school was a happy choice.
This story highlights that integrating foreign students who come from a diverse cultural social and linguistic reality may be simple and almost natural. Contrarily to other stories that narrate serious incidents caused by the increasingly multicultural nature of Portuguese society (a phenomenon that hasn’t been felt as incisively at this school as it has in other schools in other regions of Portugal, on the coast and around big towns) this student’s life story is that of an easygoing adaptation to a new social and school reality. From the student’s interview it seems that the smooth process lies in that the student did not run against any great obstacles to his inclusion and was not shown any kind of active resistance to his integration in the school environment. The episodes of discrimination referred to were a few, superficial and did not arise from conscious premeditation or segregation. It might thus seem that the global educational context of the school if favorable to the integration of this kind of students who feel at ease to reinvent themselves in the school spaces and activities. It is no doubt significant that the student mentions his peers and his teachers as key factors for his wellbeing.
The school knows that the experience lived by this student and testified by his interview is unfortunately not exemplary of what is happening all over the country. The media have frequently called attention to the myriad problems arising in multicultural schools in big urban spaces. It is therefore safe to conclude that the school environment and its extensions into the local community are conducive to the peaceful integration of foreign students. There are no objective reasons why this should not be the case elsewhere and with other students, since there were two similar successful cases in the present school year.