Brazilian Immigration and the Quest for Identity

Brazilian Immigration and the Quest for Identity

Brazilian Immigration and the Quest for Identity

Brazilian Immigration and the Quest for Identity

Excerpt

To be an immigrant to any country is a challenge. There is a feeling that no matter how much you try, you will never achieve the same status as a native born person. When I first arrived in the United States, I remember eating potato chips and other snacks from a vending machine for a period of time, because the people in the motel where I was living could not understand my English and I could not order my food at a restaurant. This difficult period I encountered pales in comparison to the plight of those whose lives fill the pages of this book. But my great interest in immigration began at an earlier stage, watching my mother, her two sisters and her mother, immigrants to Brazil arriving from Mexico, and my father, a second generation immigrant Italian-American. I later became an immigrant myself in more than one society, living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I found the first family of my late grandfather, and in Melbourne, Australia, where I had the opportunity in the U.S. Consulate to advise many Australian and Asian students about the American educational system. I then settled permanently in the United States where I worked as a school and mental health professional counselor, gaining experience in understanding the lives of a very diverse population. These ranged from convicted felons in drug and alcohol treatment facilities, abused children and at-risk youth to gifted high school and private university students. Such challenging work provided me with many skills that facilitated this study of Brazilian second-generation young adults in the United States.

Brazilian Americans are currently estimated to be as large if not larger than the Cuban population in the United States. It is a relatively new ethnic group developing a second and thirdgeneration and little is known about their lives and how so many . . .

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