Last Wednesday, the Grade 8 Social Studies core classes visited the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp. It shows the story of the migration of 2 million mostly East Europeans (Russia, Ukraine, and Poland) from 1873 to 1934 to North America, the story of the shipping company (Red Star Line) which transported them, and that of the city and harbour which temporarily welcomed them on their way to their final destination.
The museum’s building is the same building that was used to control and check the sojourners before boarding the ocean liner. The big story and the multiple little stories told touch on a universal theme: migration and mobility have always existed, millions of people leave the familiar behind to look for a new future. The St. John’s International School community can relate to this universal narrative. It is one reason why this museum visit was organized for Grade 8 in Social Studies class for the Unit Population and Migration. Another reason is to put a global historical perspective to the current refugee and migration crisis in the European Union countries.
The museum visit is a follow up to the teach-in by four Syrian refugees to Grades 7 and 8 students in December 18.
By Ven de la Cruz, Grade 8 Social Studies Teacher