De fora ['From Elsewhere'] (web page in Catalan) is a book containing transcriptions of conversations with six people who have settled in Andorra to begin a new life there.
The aim of the publication is to present six different experiences of integration, to serve as examples for others to follow. Each of the immigrants interviewed describes their adaptation to Andorra, gives their views on the principality's people, traditions and way of life, and argues the case for learning Catalan.
The Principality of Andorra.
Firstly, immigrants in Andorra, whom the book aims to provide with models of integration in order to contribute to breaking down prejudices and to show that Catalan is a useful language that everyone can learn.
Secondly, native Andorrans, for whom the book represents an opportunity to see themselves through the eyes of immigrants.
Andorra's Catalan Culture Centre (web page in Catalan).
Andorra's official language is Catalan. However, the people of Andorra tend to switch from Catalan to Spanish or French when addressing immigrants or people they do not know.
Immigrants outnumber the autochthonous population in Andorra. Immigration is consequently a highly relevant aspect of life in the principality, and campaigns aimed at increasing the use of Catalan are vital to the preservation and promotion of Andorra's language and culture. De fora is an example of such an initiative.
De fora is a collection of transcriptions of conversations with six people who have settled in Andorra to begin a new life there.
The six people interviewed for the book were from countries in Africa, America, Europe and Oceania. Their places of origin and native cultures were not the primary concern when they were selected for the interviews, however. Greater emphasis was placed on them deeming it important to respect their host country, learn its language and adapt to its way of life; in other words, to achieve a balance between their own culture and that of their host country.
The interviews were carried out in informal settings. The conversations that took place were recorded and subsequently transcribed, word for word.
Some research was performed on each interviewee's country of origin (history, customs, languages, interesting facts, etc.), with a view to gaining an insight into their cultural background as a means of coming to understand them better. The information thus obtained was organised into different sections and included alongside the interviews in the book. These brief cultural overviews added to the book's appeal, helping to boost its potential readership.
Based on their experiences, each of the six interviewees felt that learning Catalan was essential, out of respect for Andorra as their host country on one hand, and because doing so had been crucial to their integration and ability to interact with the rest of the population on the other.
Andorra's Catalan Culture Centre published 750 copies of De fora, which was presented and promoted in all the principality's media in the week leading up to 23 April (the International Day of the Book, when large volumes of books are sold in Catalonia and Andorra).
Plans have been made to present De fora in the embassies of the countries of origin of Andorra's immigrants.
De fora has been well received and is viewed in a positive light by immigrants living in Andorra and the principality's autochthonous population alike. In all likelihood, the messages it aims to send out have reached both the collectives in question.
The six experiences and points of view presented in the book serve as examples of integration through language for immigrants in Andorra to follow, particularly those who have yet to embrace Catalan.