Swinburne English educator releases book recounting migrant experiences

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Zoe Repse at the launch of her book

Zoe Repse wrote the book inspired by her own migrant experiences

In summary

  • Swinburne educator has released a book exploring the experiences of migrants in Australia
  • ‘A Walk In My Skin’ recounts real-life stories from the 1950s and 1960s  
  • Companion self-study workbook designed to help English learners also released 

A book exploring the experiences of migrants in Australia has been released by a Swinburne educator.

‘A Walk In My Skin’, written by English as an Additional Language and General Education for Adults educator, Zoe Repse, recounts 32 real-life stories of migrants and their family’s experiences in Hamilton, Victoria from the 1950s until the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.

“The book took me 20 years to write,” says Mrs Repse.

“The first kernels were sown when I noticed the terrible feelings of disconnectedness of my adult migrant students. Many felt isolated, worn-out and alone in their struggle to make a living and to understand the Aussie culture.

“I found that sharing my own migrant experiences, and those of my parents, eased their sense of alienation, and helped them to feel part of the wider community.”

Mrs Repse believes the book will appeal to those who enjoy biographies and recent Australian history, and hopes that many Australians will recall events mentioned in the stories and perhaps even re-live their younger days.

“It would also appeal to migrants who may relate to the experiences. Teachers and students would enjoy sharing the stories in class discussions and with friends.”

Many topical issues are raised including: self-identity, racism, sexism, bullying, assimilation and arranged marriages according to Mrs Repse. There are also Australian expressions and slang used deliberately in the book that would interest English learners.

A companion self-study ‘Grammar and Workbook’ has also been released, with answers which supplement ‘A Walk In My Skin’, or it can be used independently. It is designed to help learners of English improve their skills.

 ‘A Walk in My Skin’ and its companion book are available online now.