How did you come up with your project and why does it interest you?
The recent refuge crisis has been at the center of the current political debate but also the topic of many of our classroom discussions. The ongoing civil and international conflicts have given rise to a global crisis of human displacement with the potential to disrupt societies due to real or perceived threats for the host countries’ political, economic, or social life. During the Kosovo war in 1998-1999 I have been a refugee myself, and that is why the topic is of particular interest to me. Through my research I aim to better understand how states are coping with the refugee inflows and the long-term implications of their approach in the lives of refugees.
Why did you choose this particular country?
Sweden is often dubbed as the most generous nation on earth, with a social system that attracted an unprecedented number of refugees. Even though Sweden welcomed more refugees than any other EU country per capita, the overwhelming number of arrivals often led to short-term solutions to ensure their immediate accommodation. In this regard, I became interested in looking how gender-sensitive is Sweden’s approach under such conditions, the challenges they face in accommodating the refugees, and the ways in which they are trying to facilitate their integration.
Have you changed as a result of this experience?
Being in Sweden, albeit for a brief period of time, I have adopted a “green mindset” that has made me even more conscious about the environment and my daily habits. For example, the word/concept “Lagom” which means “just the right amount” or “everything in moderation” greatly describes the mindset of the people I got to know in Sweden. I came to admire their heightened sense of balance about everything—from the work they do to the food they consume. Now, I am significantly more aware of my actions as a consumer and the impact that for instance my purchasing decisions have not only on me, but the society as a whole.