Upper School French Students Learn About Immigration

To gain a better understanding of immigration in France, Collegiate Upper School students in Holly Fairlamb’s Honors French V class invited Martine Tchitchihe, a human rights advocate, and John Dau, Collegiate’s Global Scholar-in-Residence, to describe their experiences navigating the immigration process in the United States.
Ms. Tchitchihe spoke about her choice to leave her native Cameroon and further her education in the U.S. As part of that discussion, she explained the U.S. asylum process as well as what it felt like to leave all friends and family behind. She also spoke about the freedoms she witnesses every day in this country. In addition to studying for her doctorate in comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania, Ms. Tchitchihe hopes to transform the social norms that keep girls from achieving their goals back in Cameroon.

Mr. Dau spoke about the migration process as a displaced person fleeing civil war in his native South Sudan. Elaborating on the specific steps that a migrant takes in order to receive asylum and eventually become an American citizen, he stressed the "power" that comes with being an American citizen and holding an American passport.

The visits from Ms. Tchitchihe and Mr. Dau were invaluable to the class, allowing students to gain greater insight into what refugees experience in their quest for asylum and what it means to them to finally feel safe in a new country. Their stories inspired students to be more empathetic and to help others in similar situations.