Moving Truths: Ivy Wang

The Moving Truths series showcases pieces of writing by Faculty of Arts students on the topic of Global Migration.

In 2019, the Faculty of Arts ran a writing competition related to ‘Hard Truths’, an exhibition of prize-winning photography from The New York Times. Students wrote creative and journalistic pieces responding to the following questions: 'What has your life experience and the experience of those around you taught you about global migration? What needs to change?' Moving Truths, a new online series, showcases student entries from the competition, alongside profiles of each student author. Explore Moving Truths to learn more about our global community and discover the powerful stories our students have to tell.

Five Quick Questions with Ivy

Master of Public Policy and Management student Ivy Wang submitted a piece of writing called “Embrace the Change,” inspired by the time she spent living in Ethiopia. Get to know a bit more about Ivy below, and scroll down to read her competition entry.

Student Ivy Wang

Where would you like to travel? "I would like to travel to the Middle East and learn about their rich culture."

Of the places you've lived, which is your favourite? "I have travelled to 38 countries and lived in 4 countries. Ethiopia is my favourite place and I feel it's my second home country."

Who or what inspires you? "My grandfather is my hero and he inspired me to explore the world and ask questions fearlessly. He used to be an army pilot and he is a very self-disciplined person."

What are you studying or working on right now? "I am studying Master of Public Policy and working on Africa community development now. I work with different African groups to promote trade and investment between Australia and African countries."

How are you coping during the COVID-19 lockdown? "The COVID-19 lockdown provides me more time to think and write. I managed to write three short blogs in two weeks time and participated in online exercise five days a week."

Thanks Ivy!

"Embrace the Change" by Ivy Wang

10 March 2019, my Google news alert sent me a push notification that an Ethiopian Airline plane had crashed 10 minutes after takeoff. Two hours later, my email alert rang again. My long awaited Permanent Residency application had been approved after 10 months’ review. I didn’t become the happiest person that day, though, because I could have been on the crashed plane. The story starts six years ago.

I boarded an Ethiopian Airlines plane on 12 August 2013 and flew to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to work. On the plane, more than half of the passengers were Chinese migrant construction workers. They only spoke a few words of English, and they didn’t have fancy clothes, but they were all from rural areas in China. They had been employed by illegal labor recruitment companies and would be working for numerous infrastructure projects in Ethiopia and across Africa. Their average salary would be between USD 1500-2000 per month and they would be living far away from the city. They wouldn’t know they would have no access to proper accommodation, nor be able to visit their families frequently. The plane took off right after midnight and those migrant construction workers were dreaming about a better life in Africa.

I arrived on the 13th after an exhausting 11 hour flight. I had moved myself from the most developed country in the world to one of the least developed countries in the world. After four years of study in the U.S., I had migrated to Ethiopia to work. Among the one million Chinese citizens in Africa, I was privileged to live in a bright villa and work to strengthen the China-Africa relationship. However, I saw hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians travelling with Ethiopian Airlines to go to Saudi Arabia, to Israel, to Kenya, to China, to the U.S., and anywhere that is more developed than Ethiopia for a better life. Ahmed, a dear colleague of mine, said:

“Living in Ethiopia is like hell. Why do you abandon your life in America? Why do you want to live in Addis?”

Experiencing different cultures is my reason to migrate continuously. Having been raised in China, I have been seeking a more interesting place to live since I was 13.

The newly released Global Migration Report 2019 shows that more than 10 million people have migrated to the G20 countries to seek a better future. The number is astonishing and I am one of the 10 million. Unlike me, many migrants are struggling to make ends meet in developed countries like Australia. If any of us were to dare to live a day without migrating workers, our lives would be a disaster. What we can do is to embrace them and try our best to understand their stories and treat them equally. The hard truth behind each migrant strikes my heart as they are also humans like us but less privileged and sometimes unable to enjoy even a hot meal.

As a young migrant to Australia, I strongly recommend that everyone start doing something small to help – donate your nearly-new clothes to migrants who struggle to afford clothing, ask R U OK? if you see migrants wandering in public places, be open-minded and embrace the change.

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