I decided to join the MIMY project not only to listen to the stories of other migrants but to really understand their lived experiences. Additionally, I also wanted to learn more about integration; to learn comprehensively about how Luxembourg tries to integrate young migrants and hopefully find pragmatic solutions to help migrants, such as myself feel, valued and supported. During the duration of MIMY, I got to have a deeply introspective experience. Firstly, having an introductory lesson regarding immigration. It was very intensive but very informative. During those two days, I realised how little I know about migration; this shocked me as I considered myself to be a very knowledgeable person. As the days went by I got to be with very collaborative people that worked and learned with me, which was a positive experience.
Looking back I would say that some of my expectations have been met. I got to learn more about migration as a topic and how a research project works, while also listening to immigrants' raw and transparent experiences of their migration process. However, some things I did not expect. When participants would talk about how Luxembourgish institutions had failed them in regards to supporting them and helping them integrate into the country I often felt infuriated or confused. This surprised me because I didn’t expect to have such strong emotional responses. . In tandem with that, I was saddened by the fact that I never really l got to engage or explore pragmatic ways we could help immigrants which was also the main reason for joining the project and I think I would still like to know more about this aspect.
This topic deeply resonated with me because it allowed me to be reflective about being a migrant myself. Personally, I found and still find integrating into Luxembourg challenging since I did not know the resources available to me. For example, I had no idea about the options available to me in regards to advancing my education or the different agencies out there that could help immigrants like me integrate more smoothly. Listening to other migrants' experiences not only validated my own experience of injustice I’ve encountered but also challenged some of my preconceptions of what these immigrants experienced when migrating to another country. I realised that immigrants that migrated to Luxembourg weren’t a monolith but a varied group of individuals with different experiences often conflicting with one another. One immigrant would have a positive experience while another a completely negative one. Another aspect which impressed me was how perceptive the migrants I talked to were on how they are perceived by the Luxembourgish population and how they navigate life with that. It certainly allowed me to confront my own bias of what an immigrant from a lower economic background was, which I realize how until now was influenced by the media. Being a part of this project I discovered that their stories were nuanced and more complex than I thought, that one story is different from the other, and made me reflect on my own journey. It enabled me to confront and recognize my privilege; be it the fact that I speak English or being educated in a developed country, which makes my secondary education widely recognised. My work in the project also contributed to my personal development. During my time at MIMY, I got to learn transferable skills such as time management, organisation, being able to be a good listener and good verbal and written communication. These are the skills that I will use for the rest of my life. Through my deep discussions with colleagues, I was able to mentally challenge my thoughts and opinions regarding immigration, which helped me reconcile with the term immigrant as a self-descriptor. Through listening to people’s experiences and engaging in deep interesting topics with my peers I was able to foster an alternative way of looking at immigrants counteracting what I have been told by the media.
In conclusion, this was a positive experience that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.