Borders, Refugees, and Africa

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Some days ago I attended a summer school in peace & conflict studies in the North of Italy. On my way back home, I had to cross the border between Italy and Austria. While I was waiting for my train in Verona’s main station, I noticed two Italian police men. They stood on my track and observed everyone around them. Continue reading “Borders, Refugees, and Africa”

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Refugees: Media vs. Reality

I got very scared yesterday evening. As I was walking home, a drunk man walked past me. His face turned red and he repeatedly shouted: “Shit Migrants!”
Luckily, he only looked at me briefly.
I guess my light skin colour protected me.
However, I am a migrant.
One month ago, I moved from Germany to Austria.

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The rise of racism and xenophobia in Europe

 

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During my time in Prague, I had the chance to visit the Franz Kafka Museum. Kafka’s life demonstrates that multicultural societies are nothing new in Europe. Kafka was a Jew. His mother tongue was German. He was born in the Czech Republic. He died in Austria. Despite the lame rhetoric of racist and populist politicians, Europe was always home to people with fluid identities.

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Common Myths about Migration

In the beginning of September, I was one out of 100 participants from 50 countries selected for the IOM Summer School on Migration Studies in Prague, Czech Republic.
IOM, established in 1951, is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and has more than 100 offices worldwide. IOM joined the United Nations on September 19, 2016. The IOM Summer School was a great opportunity for me to gain more knowledge about migration theories and policies. I could discuss the root causes of racism and xenophobia with scientists and share interesting stories with people who work in NGOs, refugee camps and detention centers worldwide.

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My first Airbnb experience: Lake Como, Italy

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I know that there are many rumours about Airbnb nowadays. Just yesterday, there was a news report about changing housing policies in Berlin, because quite a large number of Airbnb hosts rented out their  apartments to tourists without using the apartments for themselves. They lived outside of Berlin, and only wanted to make a profit. In the end, they caused a rise in property prices and a lack of affordable housing in Berlin. I think the new policy is good, but it should not affect “real” hosts who just want to share their apartments with tourists for some days, or rent out their places while they are on holidays.

Continue reading “My first Airbnb experience: Lake Como, Italy”

In search of my roots: Bratislava, Slovakia

My mum’s dad had passed away before I was born. She told me a few stories about him and my curiosity to know more about my grandfather grew every year. He was a Slovakian citizen, but some of his family members belonged to the German diaspora in Slovakia. As a young man, he worked as an informant during World War II and moved to Germany after the end of the war.
Last year, I finally decided to visit the Slovak capital Bratislava because I wanted to get to know more about my cultural roots and this small overlooked place in Eastern Europe.

Continue reading “In search of my roots: Bratislava, Slovakia”