A migrant can be defined as someone who has had to leave his or her country to work (or to seek work).
This word is also used for someone who moves around in his or her own country to follow work such as the seasonal harvesting of crops (a migrant worker).
The first definition is slightly different than the word immigrant; an immigrant is someone who moves to another country to settle—or live permanently. And the second definition is slightly different than the word nomad; a nomad is a member of an entire community of people who move from one place to another rather than settling in one spot.
Similar words include emigrant, emigre, expatriate, itinerant, and displaced person! They all have similar definitions but slightly different connotations—that is, they evoke different ideas or feelings. For example, I think nomad sounds exotic and perhaps historical, whereas itinerant just sounds kind of homeless and sad.
Okay, now I'm confused!
It's simple. People sometimes leave their country, or their native region of their country, in order to find work. They are often called migrants or migrant workers. And no matter why people become migrants—whether they had to move because of lack of opportunity or natural disaster or war or disease—they are human beings just like you and me, and they should be treated as such.
And that's what this United Nations day is all about.
We can recognize the contributions migrants make to their home and host countries, and of course we should respect their human rights! Do you know about any migrants in your nation or region?
- Although these resources were developed for students in Scotland, some would be useful to any English-speaking person. For example, try the one labeled “British Red Cross—Needs and wants auction.”
- Animals migrate to breed or to avoid harsh weather or to follow their food. Learn about animal migration at Brain Pop Junior.
- This video about migration from Mexico to the U.S. is a couple of decades (or so) out of date, but still interesting and relevant to understanding today's issues.
Also on this date: