Moving StoriesNote: These questions are part of our Moving Stories collection. We have designed these questions to allow for a wide range of interpretations of what it means to migrate. By definition, to migrate is to move. However, not every migration story is the same. Moving from one neighborhood to another, while sharing some common elements with other migration stories, is quite different than the migration story or a refugee, immigrant, displaced person. or someone forced to migrate through the Middle Passage and Slavery.  The educators’ guide and mini-unit offer suggestions for how to frame this activity with students in ways that use those differences to build a deeper understanding of migration. We also recognize that the emotional impact and weight of migration stories are not the same for everybody, turn to the guide for suggestions on how to create an emotionally safe space for the Moving Stories interview. 

 

QUESTION SET ONE

Use these questions as a starting point if the interview subject has a personal experience with moving or migration that they would like to share. Before conducting the interview, review the following with your interviewee to make sure they feel comfortable with the questions and choose the most appropriate ones. It might be helpful to give them a few minutes to reflect before beginning the interview.

If you’d like to share your story with friends, family, or the public, use our Moving Stories app.

MOTIVATION FOR MIGRATING

  • There is a story behind every decision to migrate.
  • What was yours (or your parents)?
  • What were your (or your parents) hopes for your new life here?
  • Why did you choose to come to this country instead of somewhere else?

THE JOURNEY

  • Who did you come with and who did you leave behind? Did anyone come ahead of you?
  • What was the most difficult part about leaving?
  • What was your journey to this new country or community like?
  • What was the most difficult part of coming here?
  • What was it like when you first arrived?
  • What most surprised you?
  • What did you miss most about the country you came from?
  • Who was most helpful with getting you settled?
  • Migration can be hard. Where did you find strength in difficult times?
  • How do you think that migration has changed you?

HOPES & REALITIES

  • As time has passed, how does your experience compare to what you expected?
  • What have been your biggest challenges?
  • What have been your greatest sources of joy?
  • Overall, how do you think your family is doing after the migration?
  • Can you think of times when you have felt unwelcome as an immigrant? What about when you have felt welcomed?
  • Do you have a story about someone you care about that was deported?
  • What is the thing you are proudest of so far and why?
  • What are you hoping to accomplish in the future?
  • What do you think may get in the way of those dreams?
  • What do you think may help your dreams come true?
  • In what ways do you think migration has made you a stronger person?

DACA (If appropriate)

  • If you have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) status, how did your life change once you attained that status?
  • How might losing DACA status affect your life?
  • How do you think the new proposed legislation by the Senate and Congress to extend more permanent protections to undocumented youth affect you if they passed?

ADVICE

  • If someone you knew were planning on coming to this country or community, what would you tell them to expect?
  • What advice would you give them about whether or not they should come?
  • If they decided to come, what advice would you give them about how to make the best of their experience?
  • What do you wish more people knew about immigrants or others that are new to the community?
  • What are the 2 or 3 most important things that people could do to make the process of coming to a new country or community better?
  • Is there anything you would like to add that that has not been asked?

 

QUESTION SET TWO:

Use these questions if the interview subject is the child or family member of im/migrants who migrated to the country or to a new community. Before conducting the interview, review the following with your interviewee to make sure they feel comfortable with the questions and choose the most appropriate ones. It might be helpful to give them a few minutes to reflect before beginning the interview.

MOTIVATION FOR MIGRATING

  • There is a story behind every decision to migrate. What do you know about your family’s story?
  • What did your family hope for in their new life here?
  • Why did your family choose to come to this country or community instead of somewhere else?

THE JOURNEY

  • What members of your family came with you and who was left behind?
  • Did anyone come ahead of your family?
  • What was most difficult for your family about leaving?
  • What was the journey to this new country (or community) like?
  • What was the most difficult for your family about arriving?
  • What does the family talk about having most surprising them when they first arrived?
  • What does the family talk about having missed most about the country or community they left behind?
  • Who was most helpful with getting your family settled in?
  • Migration can be hard. Where did your family gain strength in difficult times?
  • How do you think your family was changed by migration?

HOPE AND REALITIES

  • How do you think your family’s experience compares to their expectations?
  • What has been your family’s biggest challenges?
  • What have been your family’s biggest sources of joy?
  • Overall, how do you think your family is doing after the migration?
  • Can you think of times when your family has felt unwelcome because they are newcomers? What about when they have felt welcomed?
  • Do you have a story about someone you care about that was deported? What do you think your family is most proud of having accomplished?
  • What do you think are your family’s hopes and dreams for the future?
  • What do you think may get in the way of your family’s dreams?
  • What do you think may help your family’s dreams come true?
  • In what ways do you think your family’s migration has made YOU a stronger person?

ADVICE

  • If someone you knew were planning on coming to this country or community, what would you tell them to expect?
  • What advice would you give them about whether or not they should come?
  • If they decided to come, what advice would you give them about how to make the best of their experience?
  • What do you wish more people knew about im/migrants?
  • What are the 2 or 3 most important things that people could do to make the process of coming to a new country better?
  • Is there anything you would like to add that that has not been asked?

 

QUESTION SET THREE:

Use these questions if the interview subject’s family members or distant relatives migrated generations ago. It is important to recognize that many families have stories of forced migration such as descendants of enslaved Africans, American Indian families that were violently driven from their lands, those targeted during 20th and 21st-century genocides and ethnic cleansing as well people whose ancestors were deported. Before conducting the interview, review the following with your interviewee to make sure they feel comfortable with the questions and choose the most appropriate ones. It might be helpful to give them a few minutes to reflect before beginning the interview.

THE MOVING STORY

  • What is your family’s story about coming to this country and community?
  • Where did they come from and where did they first settle? Why?
  • Was the decision to come theirs or someone else’s?
  • Did your family stay in one place or have they moved around? How did they come to live where they are now?

THE JOURNEY

  • Has your family shared stories about the most difficult part of their journey?
  • What have you heard about what they missed most?
  • What do you know about your family name—like its history, origins, or changes?
  • What traditions from your family’s country—like celebrations, foods, or songs—do you still enjoy?
  • Do you have family heirlooms, scrapbooks, or mementos that tell your families’ moving story?

HOPES & REALITIES

  • What were your relative(s)’ dreams in coming here? How did those dreams compare with reality?
  • What people or events helped, or got in the way, of achieving those dreams?
  • Did your family ever feel unwelcome because they were newcomers, outsiders, or because of their identities?
  • Were there people or communities that made them feel welcomed?
  • How would things be different for your family if they hadn’t migrated?
  • Do you have a story about someone you know or care about who was deported?

REFLECTION

  • Have you ever considered tracing your roots or going back to your family’s homeland or home community?
  • Do you see connections between your family story and that of today’s im/immigrants?
  • Is there anything you would like to add that that has not been asked?