Understanding integration

Understanding integration

Integration - a term that has become an integral part of today's vocabulary.

Every individual certainly has an idea of what integration means. After all, integration concerns us all - both the long-established population and migrants. However, if one is asked to define the term, it can be quite difficult. People's ideas about the content of the word relate to many different areas of life.

This was also my experience as a Peer Researcher. In the interviews I conducted, the answers to the question regarding integration ranged from the necessary language skills to participation and equal opportunities. Depending on how long people had been in the country and what stage of life they were in, the answers varied. For those who attended language courses, for example, integration meant mastering the language of the country they were in in order to be able to interact with the long-established society. Others, who were looking for training and work, thought the term was about equal opportunities, as many would experience disadvantages in the labour market due to their migration. Others, however, referred to participation. They envisioned the same rights and obligations as the long-established population, as well as participation in social and cultural life, in order to gain a sense of belonging in society.

As a Peer Researcher, these results also gave me a different perspective on the term. Many of the points may seem self-evident to those of us who live here, but the interviews made it clear that integration, due to its complexity, is a longer process of feeling accepted in society.

Beyond this effort to understanding integration, being a Peer Researcher in MIMY was a very instructive experience in many other ways. I was able to gain a comprehensive insight into the implementation of a European project, the processes in the background and the cooperation with the other members. I have also been show how the work of Peer Researchers can be highly valued in a research team, which is why I feel very honoured to have been able to contribute to such an important project.

Photo of Sevda Boran
The authorSevda Boran

The blog was a result of the peer research process with HAWK, in Holzminden, Germany. Young Peer Researchers were recruited from within the Social Work student cohort of the University. The peer research role was inclusive of young people with migration backgrounds in their family history.