Migration is the movement of people from one country or locality to another. Some migration is voluntary and sometimes people are forced to move. The primary reason for voluntary migration is increased economic opportunities. The International Organization for Migration estimates there are currently 214 million migrants worldwide. Migrations can occur on any level, from intercontinental to intracontinental to interregional, meaning migration within the same country.

Economic Opportunities

Statue of Liberty

If a person cannot find a job in his local area, the best option may be to look for a job in another place. A migrant may have a job, but he may want to move to an area with better living conditions and more economic activity. Some places offer more educational opportunities for career advancement and have a more malleable class structure than other societies.

Cultural Freedoms

A young boy referring a book in the library

One of the major pulls for migrations of people is the prospect of freedom in various areas of life. For example, religious freedom may be important to a migrant who cannot openly practice his religion in his home country. A scholar may flee to another country in pursuit of academic freedom. Cultural deviants may find that their behavior is better tolerated in a different place, and they may trade some of the benefits of their home society to explore these behaviors.

Culture Shock

Girl standing by chalkboard with GATO on it

Migration brings people into contact with entirely new ways of life. Culture shock is the difficultly people have with adjusting to a new culture that is very different from their own. The most difficult part of culture shock for migrants is that they have no plan to go back home, so they are forced into accepting a new culture and learning how to behave in new ways. Language is an obvious difference for migrants, making it difficult to conduct basic daily communications if the language is different from their home country. Other differences include diet, clothing and music.

Environmental Differences

Buddhist temple in Pukhan Mountains, South Korea

Migration brings people to new geographies and new climates. A change of scenery can be very interesting for new migrants, but many have trouble acclimating their bodies to major changes in climate. For example, some countries, such as Korea, have higher elevations than many other countries, and this can be a shock on the bodies of migrants who have difficulty breathing.

Leaving People Behind

Cash and overseas envelope

Migrants must leave behind family members and friends when they make their journey to a new place. Moving away from home removes the migrant's social support system and also any kind of social standing enjoyed in the home locality. While migrants usually bring their immediate families with them, they must leave their extended families behind. Sometimes migrants must leave their immediate families at home and send money back for financial support. The International Organization for Migration estimates that migrants sent home $414 billion in remittances in 2009.