From intern to PhD fellow

From intern to PhD fellow

Mateus Schweyher (right) with SIK colleague Oleksandr Ryndyk (left) at the IMISCOE conference in Barcelona.

Mateus Schweyher (right) with SIK colleague Oleksandr Ryndyk (left) at the IMISCOE conference in Barcelona.

You moved in 2016 from Germany to Stavanger. How come?

At the time I was studying the European Master in Migration and Intercultural Relations (EMMIR), an Erasmus Mundus Master run by six European and African Universities. I did the first semester in Germany and then I came here and did the rest of the program at the University of Stavanger.

That was when you first got to know the Center for Intercultural Communication (SIK), which is now a part of VID.

Yes, that’s correct. I did a two months internship at SIK during the third semester of my studies. During the internship I became involved in the FAMAC project, a research cooperation between SIK, the University of Liverpool and the University of Malmö. Its aim was to compare the situation of Polish families living in Norway, Sweden and the UK. My own family background is also Polish, so I was immediately very interested in this project and I could also make use of my Polish language skills. I decided to write my master thesis within the framework of this research project. I conducted qualitative interviews with Polish women living in Stavanger about their life histories and migration motivations.

What happened after you finished the program?

I was asked by our partner from the University of Liverpool to do interviews with Polish migrants living in Liverpool for the FAMAC project.

You had gotten to know the partner from Liverpool during your internship?

Yes, exactly. This worked out really great for me. So, then I moved to England. During the fieldwork, I also met some homeless Polish migrants and I decided to volunteer at a faith-based organization that was supporting these migrants. After five months I moved to Malmö to conduct even more interviews with Polish migrants for the FAMAC project.

Wow, you were traveling a lot then!

Yes, it was a very exciting time but also exhausting to adapt to so many places and people. Then I came back to Stavanger to work together with SIK on all this data. We presented findings on international conferences such as the IMISCOE conference in Barcelona and we wrote articles which are soon to be published.

But now you are not in the project anymore?

Now I am a PhD student at VID. When I was doing the interviews and meeting the homeless migrants in Liverpool, I got the idea to write a PhD about their situation. I proposed a PhD project to VID that explores the situation of homeless EU migrants and how faith-based organizations are supporting these migrants and I was accepted as a PhD candidate. Soon I will travel to Oslo and Liverpool to do interviews.

Very exciting. We wish you all the best for your PhD!