Alumni Stories

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Name: Alejandra Castellanos Breton

Nationality: Colombia

Graduation Year: 2021 (Cohort 9)

Mobility Path: Greece, Slovenia, Spain.

Current job: Senior Field Associate at UNHCR, Colombia

Alejandra's story: 

​I describe EMMIR as an experience in a boat, always in motion, with storms, moments of calm, possibilities of sinking, but also with multiple options of arriving at different beaches to create bonds and life. You arrive in a new country with such a diverse group that brings bast knowledge and creativity to address issues on migration, displacement, identity, movement, nationalities, stereotypes, gender, and multiculturalism. EMMIR allowed me to discuss and learn from my colleagues their unique world visions and realities within

this field. EMMIR also gave me tools to explore themes of my preferences in multiple contexts, such as the Nordic countries. For example, during the module in Norway, with Guillermo Ricalde, my colleague, we came up with the idea of analyzing the feminist policy of Sweden and their relationship with their multicultural policies. Later, this research led to the publication in the Journal of Gender Studies from the Taylor and Francis Group.

Moreover, I would say that beyond the methodological and academic tools that the program provided, what makes this program unique is the possibility of personally experiencing multiple forms of movement, facing the different challenges and opportunities that being labeled “as a migrant” implies. This experience intensifies your empathy towards others; it allows you to discover the bureaucratic procedures and their gaps at different places, facing moments of xenophobia, but also welcoming and warm moments. These gave me many tools that fall short of other academic programs.

Finally, even though the covid-19 pandemic drastically changed our mobility path for the second year, I could live in 3 different countries. I learned that new opportunities arose from the changes we faced in our mobility path. With my colleagues and friends Lisa Perez and Guillermo Ricalde, we obtained two grants from the University of Oldenburg to develop two research, presenting them at different international conferences and gaining experience in the academic field. For my last semester, I had the opportunity to design my master thesis in Barcelona, working with extutelados Morrocan young migrants, using arts-based methodologies to explore their experience of resilience in building and recreating homes in vulnerable contexts.

I currently work with the UNHCR as a Senior Field Associate in Maicao, one of the most affected regions of Colombia regarding multidimensional poverty, and one of the most significant informal border crossing, monitoring, and coordinating the assistance and effective protection measures provided to refugees and migrants in the town.

Today, I’m grateful with EMMIR to meet people that now I consider part of my family, having multiple transnational homes.

Last update: February 2022