Migrant Voices – Guler Ors

Social Diversity and Harmony Conference Cover

Guler Ors is a young woman from Turkey, was studying at LaTrobe University, Shepparton Campus, during the 2007 Cultural Diversity Conference.


I, Guler Ors, migrated from Turkey in 1993, my early years in Australia were a very difficult stage. I encountered problems such as the language barrier and naturally a different environment. Most common things people take for granted was a difficult task to overcome, such as going shopping for the groceries, seeking medical help from doctor's or even attempting to use the government transport system. When I would go shopping, an easy transaction would become a difficult one, getting familiar with the Australian currency, trying to make sense of the labels and so on. I found most people to be kind at heart offering assistance.

But most of them would treat me totally different when I would try to speak the English language. I found this quite disturbing especially in the work force. I can still remember the day I first started at a particular work place. There were mainly women there and I felt more secure and closer to women. I was pleased to see everyone genuinely wanted to socialise and help. They all seemed friendly until we spoke. They obviously noticed my strong accent and completely changed their interest towards myself. This situation didn't only effect socialising with these women but workplace discrimination took place. I was suddenly working harder and was expected to do the unwanted jobs throughout the factory. Things got so out of hand that I was forced to call in the union. Unfortunately this problem didn't go away. Even the union gave me the run around, It was so frustrating.

People assume because you are from a different descent you don't have the intellect to comprehend the issues. They take advantage of the lack of communication skills one has and the degrading forms into many categories. Whether it's how you dress, types of food you consume or just have a problem expressing yourself with little English and you're suddenly treated as a second class citizen.

However, having learned the English language to a moderate degree, doors for opportunity opened. I got my drivers licence and enrolled at Shepparton TAFE for further English studies. The teachers displayed their utmost interest in steering me in the right direction. I had the benefit of a tutor helping me in my own home, she was very encouraging. The staff, teachers and tutors were and still are very helpful. I continued my studies and broaden my expectation and have completed two years of Bachelor of Arts at Latrobe University, currently in my third year. I am very grateful for the enormous ongoing help of all lecturers at Latrobe University. Australia to me is a country of opportunities; I have had no barrier besides hard work to accomplish what I want to achieve, and what better place to do this than Australia.

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