On Monday, July 15…

After another two weeks, I have basically come to the conclusion that my current project design will not work to address my research question. A number of women have chatted with me informally over tea but declined to have our conversation recorded or expressed discomfort in having these conversations used for an academic piece. This is something I did not expect, considering I took great care to explain to them the safeguards I have in place to keep our interviews confidential and that I would not ask any questions that would conjure past trauma. I have decided to focus more on participant-observation. I have attended multiple support groups for refugee mothers and get-togethers where locals and migrants can meet and chat.

Overall, I have discovered that my question of how Arabic-speaking migrant women become socially integrated into Berlin society is the wrong question to ask. The culture of many of these women is such that they choose to not become friends or interact much with native Berliners. Instead, their support system is their family. It seems that especially Syrian women are accustomed to relying on their sisters, cousins, mothers, etc. for support and companionship, regardless of their country of residence. Many women, while they are incredibly capable of interacting and conversing with native women, choose to forego investing time in creating friendships with women with whom they have little in common to investing time in deepening existing relationships with relatives. Over my final two weeks, I hope to connect more with professionals who work with migrants on a daily basis. I hope to use my capstone paper to address a slightly different question -- using this information, how could policymakers, NGOs, etc., integrate Arab women into German society? And perhaps more importantly, what are the merits and ethics of attempting to adapt Syrian culture to fit within German culture?


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