October 26, 2016 marked the second conference day for the Next Generation: Canadian Global Citizenship Project at Sir Charles Tupper Secondary School (Vancouver District School Board). The reflection below is on the Forced Migration to Canada: Vietnamese “Boat People” and Syrian Refugees elective workshop, written by Joven Dhillion and Ryuta Tan, Grade 10 students from the Student Organizing Committee.

Today we will be focusing on one of the workshops from Day 2. In this workshop there was a presentation about the forced migration of the Vietnamese “boat people” and Syrian refugees. The Vietnamese people have gone through many struggles, including France’s 1887 declaration of Vietnam as a French colony. Many of the Vietnamese people moved to either Australia or Canada, which were accepting refugees at the time. As time went on, in 1940 World War II started, and with this Japan decided to invade Vietnam. Later in 1975 only about 700 Vietnamese people were left in Australia, as the public opinion turned against the acceptance of these “boat people.”

In this workshop, many of the students who participated did a couple of activities. One of the activities after the presentation was for every student to take a piece of paper that had information about what they had just learned. Once they took a piece of paper, they were assigned to go to a corner of the circle they were in. After they were in the corner with their piece of paper they were instructed to read aloud what their paper said. The information on the paper was basically a review on what they just learned. After this activity was done they went back into their circle, and asked to go around one by one and talk about one fact they learned or thought was interesting.

After these activities and presentations people were able to learn about not just the forced immigration to Australia and Canada, but about empathy as well. Since they learned about the hardships refugees had to go through they can achieve a better understanding of how it would feel to be one. They also got to see how people saw things through their perspectives after the activities of sharing their opinions. With all this new knowledge they have taken and learned most students should be able to accept and show appreciation for knowing how luxurious it is to live a life they have as it is.