The MIMY project is coming to an end and was concluded with a final conference in Brussels which took place over two days. On the first day, the central research results of the different countries were presented. We found it particularly interesting how differently integration and migration take place in the respective countries and how diverse the results are. We participated in the events and found the peer researcher workshop especially interesting.
Our experiences in the Peer Researcher Workshop: The PR workshop began with a selection of images. From a thematic collection of images, the participants were invited to choose an image that they associated most with the MIMY project. The participants chose different images from the collection. These were diverse images that could be interpreted individually. The peer researchers shared their selected images and told their perspective on MIMY, as well as their association with the project. We (Melda and Efsane) were thus able to learn about individual perspectives and reflect on whether we could identify with their point of view. Despite international differences, the exchange made us realize that we peer researchers share the same perspective and impressions. We all consider it a privilege to work in this project and to contribute to giving young migrants the opportunity to tell their story.
I, Melda, chose a picture with many different masks, which showed different expressions. Some masks looked angry, some happy and some unhappy. I selected this picture, because we only met smiling interview partners within the project, who, however, told their complex life story behind this smiling mask. Thus, one did not see the diverse experiences of the interview participants at first. Behind each mask one found suffering, happiness, hope and much more. I, Efsane, chose a picture that represented a man who was exploring and experimenting with something. I chose this because during our time as peer researchers we have the opportunity to learn many new things and explore them. We were also allowed to self-reflect by constantly sharing experiences with each other. The self-reflection led me to think through my own privileges and be more consciously grateful. Being involved in a research project as part of our social work degree gave us the privilege to become even more advanced in the field of research. I was able to learn about and apply different interviewing methods. In particular, I was able to expand my communication skills, which is essential for my future professional life.
*Conclusion: In the context of our participation as peer researchers in the project MIMY, we not only had the chance to do something for the project and for society, but at the same time to reflect upon ourselves and to develop as people. In our collaboration, we have had the chance to communicate our own perspectives and to broaden them by constantly exchanging and reflecting on each other, especially through learning about migrants' experiences. The self-reflection has given us new perspectives: it has made us aware of how privileged we are in many situations and helped us appreciate many more things. As an international project, MIMY has shown us that integration and migration are essential topics not only in Germany but that they are of great importance for all Europe. Finally, what we will take with us from our experience in MIMY is a simple but important lesson for the future: we should always offer people a space to tell their stories and to respect them.