Migration in Dialogue // Focus Groups, Consultations, & Kick-Off Activity

Bridges! Not Walls – Migration in Dialogue is an 18-month cooperation between Eurobug Youth Work (IE) (Coordinator), Europimpulse Network (ES), Eurobug Lithuania (LT), and CGE Erfurt e.V. (DE) seeking to identify and challenge barriers of access between migrant and civil society, and to network several migrant communities into a transnational network for migrant civic engagement. This project is funded by Leargas through the Erasmus+ program of the European Union

Young Migrants in Civic, Social, & Cultural Life

Our cooperation with this KA210 project led by Eurobug Youth Work Ltd. had a busy start this week. Following a virtual kick-off meeting on the 12th of November, CGE-Erfurt and Eurobug ran needs assessment activities in Germany and Ireland with youth and young migrant groups. These activities will help the consortium identify the key barriers migrants are facing in accessing civic life.

Across the 14 nationalities and 21 participants, there was a common reflection that despite being highly engaged civically, socially and culturally within migrant communities, it was often hard to escape a ‘migrant bubble’.

Finding of the focus group, Erfurt 2021

Eurobug held a consultation with its Eurobug Youth Chats group, and started producing a podcast on migrant civic engagement in order to support the dissemination of the Bridges! Not Walls projects.

CGE Erfurt e.V. and Eurobug cooperated to run an in-person focus group and kick-off activity in Saline 34, Erfurt. This activity drew in 25 young migrants from Erfurt, from 14 different nationalities, including Irish, British, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Romania, Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Venezuelan, French, Italian, and Pakistani young people.

The program included an intercultural networking lunch and dinner, and two hours of consultations on migrant civic, social, and political life in Thuringia.

This activity also enabled CGE and Eurobug to launch the participant’s committee of the project; young migrants who can contribute to the rest of the project outputs and activities in 2021/22.

Our Findings:

  • Across the 21 participants and 14 nationalities, young migrants were heavily engaged in spheres of social, political and cultural life, however, some barriers existed in accessing life outside of the the ‘migrant-bubble’.
  • Language was identified as a key barrier to integration, however some participants with C1-level German still relfected that being in non-migrant spaces left them feeling inauthentic and unable to contribute as fully as they wish due to gaps in cultural knowledge and different approaches to social, civic and cultural life.
  • Different groups had vastly different experiences with public adminsitrations and organisation, with ethnicity and how visibly ‘foreign’ someone presented.
  • Throughout the focus group it was clear that migrants ae not a homogenous group, with some highly integrated within all spheres, even economic life, and some struggling in several spheres of life.
  • Organisations with migrant leaders and public figures were suggested as more inviting than some local organisations, and youth organisations in general were more inviting than non-youth organisations.

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