A Heartbreaking Microcosm Of How Immigrants View North America And How North America Treats Them

While looking up material today for an article I’m writing for the next issue, I came across New York Times story from Tuesday about foreign exchange students in the U.S. protesting their terrible labour conditions and basic wage slavery at the hands of a Hershey’s chocolate-packing factory. And while their actual conditions are totally awful – with program fees and rent deducted from their paycheques, some students are looking at a take-home pay of $200 a week for full-time hours, which won’t even cover the costs of their visas – the hardest part to read is on the second page.

Harika Duygu Ozer, 19, a second-year medical student from a university in Istanbul, said she had heard from friends that the summer exchange program would be fun and that she would earn enough money to pay for her medical school tuition.

“I said, ‘Why not?’ This is America,” Ms. Ozer said.

When she was offered a contract for a job at a plant with Hershey’s chocolates, she said, she was excited. “We have all seen Charlie’s chocolate factory,” she said. “We thought, ‘This is good.’ ”

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Author: John Cameron

John Cameron is a freelance journalist and occasional writer from Regina, Saskatchewan. He was the editor-in-chief of the Carillon, the University of Regina student newspaper, from 2010 to 2012. You can find more of his work in the Trash folder of several prominent national magazine editors' inboxes.

2 thoughts on “A Heartbreaking Microcosm Of How Immigrants View North America And How North America Treats Them”

  1. Not to pile on the cruelty but what about seeing Charlie’s chocolate factory, based in England and owned by a crazy man who uses slave labour, made Ms. Ozer think “this is good” and what’s more, let’s go to the U.S.?

  2. Note to anyone considering Banff for work.
    Be prepared to pay your boss for living at his / her .”staff accomodations”.
    I was paying about 450 in 1999, and yes you will be sharing, whatever type of flat they offer.

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