Monday, 6 June 2016

Jacqueline's ISU: "I Would Be..."

Without Immigration:
Hungary, the Country I Would Be Living in

I’ve always wondered where my family came from, why my last name has a unique ‘z’ in it, what my life would have been like if my grandparents never left Hungary. Before starting this project, I knew very little about my grandma, Anna Czibok, and how she emigrated with my grandpa, Vince Czibok, from Hungary to Canada. My knowledge of their emigration ended there, all I knew was they came to Canada before my dad was born. I never knew what their lives were like, what city or town they lived in, what they did for a living, their reasons for leaving, and what they had to leave behind. 

I'm going to focus on their emigration from Hungary to Austria, Germany, Halifax, and 
Quebec before eventually staying in Toronto, Ontario.

This is a map of Hungary, Austria, and Germany. My grandparents were born in Hungary, the light pink area, and then after the war, they passed through Austria, beside Hungary, in the dark orange area, and stayed at a Displaced Person's (D.P) Camp until they emigrated to Germany, the beige area, in order to get on a boat to Halifax, Nova Scotia ("Austria-Hungary").

        After World War II, my grandparents decided to emigrate to Canada after my grandpa fought in the war and Hungary lost. Where they were living was a war zone, people were being killed, bombs were dropping, and my grandparents had to think about the best choice they could make to keep their family alive. Since my grandpa was a soldier on the opposing side of the country taking over, he was at risk of being taken to the German concentration camps. My grandma was raising their child, Helena, she was only 10 years old at the time and they had to think about her as well. Could my grandma of taken care of Helena by herself if he was taken away to die? My grandparents knew if they wanted to keep their family together, they would have to emigrate to a country of opportunity, Canada. 

        Although they knew what the right choice was, going to live in a country that they can have a safe future in, things were still keeping them in Hungary that they eventually chose to leave behind. They didn't have any family or friends in Canada, they didn't speak English, they wouldn't have jobs, or a place to live. They would have to start over. Their biggest pull factor was Helena. She was only 10 years old, she couldn't take care of herself, "she wouldn't know when to run" (Czibok), so her survival rate was considerably low. My grandparents knew that fleeing the country would be difficult with a child, so they chose to leave her behind with my grandpa's brothers, whom weren't soldiers. 

       Not only did my grandparents face push and pull factors while deciding on emigration, they also experienced challenges during and after arriving in Canada. My grandparents emigration was very rough on them, they had to leave their child behind, then another one was on the way, and eventually my grandma became a widow. They could've given up, they could've just gone back and given up their dream to be free, but they kept going. 

"International Refugee Organisation", which is a certificate
used as a passport for the purpose of immigrating to Canada.
This describes my grandpa, Vince Czibok, when he was in
Spittal an der Drau, Austria, so he could have emigrated 
to Canada after the war (Vallaux 1).
"International Refugee Organisation", which is a certificate
used as a passport for the purpose of immigrating to Canada.
This describes my grandma, Anna Czibok, when she was in
Spittal an der Drau, Austria, so she could have emigrated
to Canada after the war (Vallaux 1).

        In 1949, when they decided to leave, my grandparents made it to "British Zone Austria" (Vallaux 1), and lived on a D.P Camp in Spittal an der Drau. My grandparents made a lot of friends with the other refugees, which helped them cope with the big change they were experiencing.They stayed there until 1950 when they emigrated to Germany. From there, that same year, they went to Halifax so they could go to Quebec. My grandparents stayed there for 8 years. My grandpa was a chauffeur in Mount Royal working and saving up enough money to make a down payment on a house in Toronto, Ontario. In 1958, my grandparents moved to Toronto because my grandma was pregnant with my father, he was born in 1959. Once my grandparents got to Toronto "they were overwhelmed" (Czibok), by the big change they were facing and their new addition to the family. They started renting a place in the basement of a home, they couldn't speak English, and my dad was a newborn baby. Money was tight, my grandpa wasn't making enough money, so my grandma got a job at the Bank of Montreal. Then in 1961, my grandpa had a heart attack and died, leaving my grandma to be a single mother. My grandma had a nervous-breakdown and was hospitalized for 2 years due to the stress and heartbreak she was experiencing, leaving my dad to be raised by his neighbours.

        When I think about my grandparents emigration story, I realize how hard it was for them to give up everything to start a new life, but then I think about how much harder their lives could have been if they stayed in Hungary. My grandpa would've eventually gone to a concentration camp, my grandma would've raised Helena alone in a communist country, and I might not of existed because my dad might of not been conceived. Although, if my dad was born anyway, and my grandparents stayed in Hungary, all aspects of my life would've been different.

        For one, the health care system and the quality of overall physical health would be different, and in this case, for Hungary, my health would be impacted negatively. 

This graph shows the different categories of health people experience in Hungary. Each line represents how weak or strong the area of health is, in Hungary, in comparison to other countries. In this case, the shorter the line, the weaker the health. Based on the results, Hungary has relative weakness overall when it comes to health  ("How's Life in Hungary in 2015?").

        If I was living in Hungary, in 2016, my health would;ve been in a poorer condition than it would living in Canada, and the environment plays a big role in that. In Hungary, the life expectancy is "4 years lower than other countries" ("Hungary"), because of the higher level of "the air pollutant, atmospheric PM2.5" ("Hungary"), which are tiny air particles that damage the lungs. If I lived in Hungary, I could ultimately have a shorter life expectancy than I would in Canada. Also, the water quality in Hungary isn't as clean as Canadian water, which would increase my risk of getting sick, and with the poor health care system, a simple bacteria or parasite in my body could be fatal, which would lower my life expectancy even more. 

        Also, since the government doesn't have enough money to provide sufficient health care compared to the health care system in Canada, more people, including myself, would have to be careful while working. In Hungary, people expressed that they work in poor working conditions that also impact their health in a negative way, in this case, at my age, I would already be working, so if I got hurt there would be a higher chance that my injuries could be fatal. 

        Not only would my physical health be affected more negatively living in Hungary, but also my mental health. With unsafe stressful working environments, poverty, and lowered overall well-being, many people weren't satisfied with their life, which is shown to be "4.8/10 on women's life satisfaction scale" ("Gender Differences in Well-being"), which could cause them to have a mental illness. Since there is already a funding issue for healthcare, the government wouldn't see the significance in treating people with mental health issues. Therefore, if I was living in Hungary, my chances of developing a mental health issue would be significantly higher than it would be living in Canada. As a teenager, we already have a higher chance of developing mental health issues, so while living in Hungary, mental health would also be a concern.

This chart shows different aspects of Hungary's gender performance for each category, versus other countries that have collected the same data. For both genders, Hungary has poor health conditions percentage which is lower than the results from other countries. Women have a higher percentage of tertiary degrees for education and skills, which are higher than the average, but the men are lower. Men have a higher employment rate than women, each percentage is lower than the average. Also, women work longer hours than men in household tasks. For the seats in the parliament, 91% are men, which says a lot about the gender equality in Hungary.  Finally, women don't feel as safe as men do walking alone at night, and women are less satisfied with their lives than men ("Gender Differences in Well-being").
        Another aspect of my life that would be different if I was living in Hungary, would be my education. Hungary has a good enough education system since "Hungarians can expect to go through 17.2 years of education between the ages of 5 and 39" ("Hungary"), but that is "slightly less than the average of 17.5 years, which is completed in Canada" ("Hungary"). Impressively, "in Hungary, 83% of adults aged 25-64 have completed upper secondary education" ("Hungary"), which is higher than the average in comparison to other countries. This means that my education wouldn't be impacted as drastically as other aspects of my life would, while I'm still a teenager. If I was living in Hungary, I would finish high school, but the next issue would be obtaining an even higher education in order to have a high-paying job, like I want to do in Canada. The problem with this is that Hungary is a poorer country, so they only have so much education and so many jobs they can offer. The pursuit of a high-paying job and a high level of education would be a problem for me if my family never emigrated.

This chart shows the overall rank of well-being, of children, in Hungary, which is represented by 3 different coloured dots (green=top third, yellow=middle third, and red=bottom third). Children's well being is very important because a person's childhood shapes who they are as a teenager and as an adult. In this case, there are more "middle third" and "bottom third" rankings compared to the "top third" rankings of Hungary's well-being ("How's Life for Children in Hungary?").
        If my family stayed in Hungary, my childhood would help define who I am right now, as a teenager, and who I will become, therefore I could've been very different. Based on the chart above, my living conditions would be very stressful because either my parents wouldn't have a job, we'd be very poor, or I wouldn't have a fully functional home with enough facilities. That can put a lot of stress on not only the parents, but also the child. The homicide and bullying rates are moderate, just like in any country, but the health status is significantly poorer. This could've impacted me, I could've been a sick child with a poor family, which could've either pointed me in a good direction, or a bad one. The poverty could've helped push me to do great things or it could've held me back academically. Therefore, if I lived in Hungary all my life, the poverty could've shaped me in an entirely different way. 

This graph shows how Hungary's working conditions have negative impacts on their people. In this case the worst impact on people's health is high work pressure, and at a tie for first place for poor working conditions are poor management practices, and high work pressure for 55% of workers ("Well-being in the Workplace").

         In Hungary, employment is a lot more difficult to get since it is significantly poorer than Canada. "In Hungary, 62% of the working-age population aged 15 to 64 has a paid job" ("Hungary"), which is "lower than employment average of 66%" ("Hungary"). This means since there isn't a lot of money, not a lot of people have job opportunities. In that case, I could've been lucky and started to work when I was 15, or I could've been unlucky and not started working early in life. Also, the job stability is significantly lower than in other countries because of the poor conditions of Hungary, so I'd have a higher risk of becoming unemployed at some point in my life. This is a big problem because Hungary is already a poor country, money would already be tight, so if I lost my job, I could've been living on the streets. 

        With regards to rights and freedoms in Hungary, it is a republic, therefore the "power derives from the people" ("Hungary’s Constitutional Framework"), and the government functions in a democratic manner. Although, the government broke that rule. After a new election "legal changes including a new constitution and over 1000 laws in parliament with limited or no meaningful public consultation occurred" ("Hungary's Constitutional Framework"), which violates many rights and freedoms. Some of those violations include: media freedom, criminalizing homelessness, discrimination against the mentally ill, disabled, and the LGBT community. These new laws violate freedom of expression, freedom of speech and media, and freedom of association. The Hungarian government has been taking away people's rights with their new laws, which if I was living in Hungary would impact me negatively. Being apart of the LGBT community, the discrimination would've impacted me, and I would've had to deal with discrimination because my rights and freedoms would've been taken away.

       What I've noticed after finishing this project, living in Hungary, even now, not surrounded by war like my grandparents were, would still be difficult. This project makes me appreciate Canada a lot more because I realized how lucky I am to be living in a land where I'm free, where I have an amazing education system, more job opportunities, a healthier environment, a great healthcare system, more equality between genders in the parliament, and a wealthier economy. 

        Overall, Hungary has a high level of work-life balance, and education and skills, but their country is lacking in social connections, civic engagement, environmental quality, income and wealth, housing, jobs and earnings, personal security, subjective well-being, and health status ("Hungary"). This means that Hungary may have a good enough education system, but when it comes to money, the environment, and gender equality, Hungary doesn't compare to places like Canada. If I was living in Hungary right now, I could be successfully going to school and balancing a job on top of that, but my environment wouldn't be as safe and as clean as Canada, I'd probably be living in poverty, my job opportunities wouldn't be as wide-ranged or secure as in Canada, and if I wanted to be apart of the government, there is only a "9% chance" ("Gender Differences in Well-being"), of that happening. Also, my safety as a woman, for instance, walking down the street would be a lot more risky than walking down the street in Canada. Finally, my health would be even worse than it is in Canada since Hungary doesn't have a good health care system. 

        My life could've been different if my grandparents weren't brave enough to follow their dreams and escape from their communist country. My life could've been a lot more difficult, I wouldn't of had all the opportunities that I've always had. In conclusion, if I lived in Hungary all aspects of my life would be different, but in a negative way.

Works Cited Page

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