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Where in the world is Cohort 8? EMMIR 4th semester experiences

Updated: a day ago

EMMIR Cohort 8 students are in the most exciting—and debatably most challenging—part of their two-year Master's experience: the 4th semester. From January until June, C8 EMMIRians will be researching and writing their M.A. dissertations.


In December, Cohort 8 met in Oldenburg for their Thesis Proposal Colloquium where they presented their topics on a theoretical and methodological level to their fellow peers, their supervisors, and visiting professors and scholars.


Students at the December Thesis Colloquium. Oldenburg, 2019.


EMMIR dissertations range between 32,000-40,000 words (around 80-100 pages) and are due at the end of June. There is a prize of Most Innovative Thesis which is awarded at the cohort's graduation ceremony in September.


As Cohort 8 students began their EMMIR journeys in Oldenburg in 2018, they're ending their journeys spread out around the world, researching the topics that are most close to their hearts. They will meet again in Oldenburg in September for their graduation. Good luck, Cohort 8!


Let's hear from some of the students about where they are and what they're doing now...



Aqsa, Brussels


Hello, I am Aqsa Khalid. I am spending my fourth semester of EMMIR in Brussels while continuing my content based internship with IOM regional office in migration and health division. For my thesis (which is also my focus work at IOM), I am researching and interviewing interdisciplinary experts to make a conceptual model about climate change associated migration and related health implications. I hope to come up with something useful and practical in this interdisciplinary field.


Anne, South Africa


I am Anne from Cohort 8. I decided to spend my last semester of the EMMIR program in South Africa at Wits University. I will be researching at the African Center for Migration and Society (ACMS) and explore how mobility and migration in the South African context impacts access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. More specifically I am going to look at women’s experiences and navigation strategies with regard to safe termination of pregnancy services in the city of Johannesburg. My thesis will be embedded in a larger two-year research project called „Making Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights a Reality for Migrants in South Africa“ that ACMS will carry out in cooperation with two local NGOs: Sonke Gender Justice and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA). Personally it was very important for me to do research that can potentially have a real and concrete impact on people’s lives. I am hoping to contribute directly to generating evidence that can be used for advocacy work as well as policy and legislative processes that try to improve the accessibility for sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) for all women.


Against the backdrop of current popular political and public discourses, it has become more important than ever to promote positive social change towards a more just and equal society, and I see my work and the coming months in Johannesburg as my opportunity to contribute to this movement. I am very excited to meet new people and be part of this wider network and collaboration of researchers and civil society organisations.


After all these goodbyes and hellos, the travelling (oh my word!) … leaving old places, settling in new places, making new friends, leaving new friends, seeing old friends again - in short this whole EMMIR experience outside of the academic setting, it is important for me to feel like I belong somewhere.

And on a more personal note, I am so happy to be back in South Africa for a longer period of time. It has become my second home. After all these goodbyes and hellos, the travelling (oh my word!) … leaving old places, settling in new places, making new friends, leaving new friends, seeing old friends again - in short this whole EMMIR experience outside of the academic setting, it is important for me to feel like I belong somewhere. Being sort of torn between two continents, in my case Africa and Europe, is not always easy and I will always miss someone, no matter where I am. But the beauty of this EMMIR journey lies in the fact that we are all in this together and I wish my fellow classmates, my friends, all the best for their thesis writing. Wherever you are right now - we can do this!




Tinyiko, Bulgaria

Hi, I'm Tinyiko Sithole. I’m currently with Y-PEER PETRI Sofia as a member of the project implementation team of Erasmus+ KA2 project “It’s all about Solidarity”, the project’s main objectives is to contribute to the social inclusion, integration and empowerment of young refugees and migrants beyond the participating countries (Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, Austria, and Turkey). My thesis topic focuses on the integration methods of refugees in Bulgaria. I look forward to my fieldwork and learning more about integration in Bulgaria.




Oliver, Sweden


My name is Oliver and I am in the beautiful and cozy university town of Lund in Sweden for my fourth semester. I write my master thesis on the topic of the reintegration of Yazidi children in northern Iraq, who were abducted by the Islamic State in 2014, trained as combatants, and now, after the defeat of IS, return to the Yazidi communities in Iraqi Kurdistan.




Elena, Mayotte


Hi there! My name is Elena Iwanski. I am spending my 4th semester in the middle of the Indian Ocean, on Mayotte. Although the Union of the Comoros - with the support of the UN - claims the island as part of its independent state, Mayotte today is administrated by France and part of the EU.


In the past decades, thousands of migrants have died trying to reach this island using little fisher boats. For those who succeed in reaching Mayotte, administrative hurdles, detention and deportation await many of them.


For my thesis, I am conducting research on the experiences of non-deportable rejected asylum seekers and their strategies to face the challenges of imposed immobility on Mayotte, a tiny island of 374km2. Kwaheri!




Rumsha, Switzerland


My name is Rumsha Shahzad and I’ll be spending my 4th Semester of EMMIR living, interning, and thesis-writing in Geneva 🇨🇭! I’m interning at the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Governance department, looking at how corporations can promote labour rights and (luckily) writing a thesis on the same topic - focusing on migrant labour rights and Corporate Social Responsibility in Qatar (post data-collection-in-Doha picture above).




Rubana, Germany


Hi, I'm Rubana. I'm working on my thesis in Oldenburg on the role of the 'middlemen' in the migration process. I'm also working part-time as a student assistant at the University of Oldenburg, while going through the excruciating process of writing the thesis. :-)


Jessica, Spain


Hey! My name is Jéssica Monteiro. I am spending my 4th semester of EMMIR programme in Madrid where I am working part-time as an intern at the porCausa. It is a foundation that works doing research and journalism about migration. I am working on a project called New Narratives which the purpose is to change/improve the how way media approach and talk about migration issues. At same time, I am writing my master theses about transnational mothers from a Brazilian state, Minas Gerais, in the United States. I am trying to figure out what the 'American Dream' means for them and what they are doing to make this dream come true.

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EMMIR is a 2-year Erasmus Mundus master's degree in Migration and Intercultural Relations run by a consortium of 7 partner institutions in Europe and Africa. 

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Last website update: July 2020