FVTC students experience life as an immigrant

Immigration simulation

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) –  Fox Valley Technical College is giving a students a taste of what it’s like to come to Appleton as an immigrant. They took part in a simulation some students called an eye-opening experience.

Fox Valley Tech students were given a profile. Some were dairy workers. Some were unemployed.

“I’m a 27-year-old male who speaks no English,” one student said.

“I worked all week and I received $200, so I’m going to put my family first and send them my paychecks which leaves me $5 for food and rent,” Carly McGuinnis said.

When students needed help, many couldn’t overcome the language barrier.

“¿Donde estan los papeles?”

“Ante… sabe que es ante.”

“No te entiendo. No te entiendo.”

“I have on idea what I’m doing,” student Bryn Pilgrin admitted, “but I’m learning along the way.”

Nora Lazcano told one of the “immigrant” students, “You need a permit, and you need to show me that you are eligible to work here.”

Lazcano told us, “I can see their frustration and they get upset, like I had a student that got upset with me because I wasn’t speaking the language, so hopefully we can make a difference.”

Instructors and volunteers say that it’s important to note that these aren’t issues that only illegal immigrants are going through, it’s also those who are going through the process to become citizens and also those families that already are.”

“Every new community who has moved here has gone through the same struggles,” Mayra Pasayes of FVTC Diversity and Inclusion Services said.

Pasayes says our area’s non-English speaking immigrant population is growing, and if communication isn’t possible then all of society struggles.

“I would have never experience this if I didn’t take these classes and it would have never opened my eyes,” student Katie Spaulding said.

“You can see tell how hard it is for them to just live in like Appleton. It can be difficult, very difficult,” Katie Lorrigan said.