When I was accepted on the Master’s programme at UNU-MERIT, convincing my family was a major challenge. My family always believed in me, but societal factors of who a woman should be, and how she should live her life represented a great obstacle. Eventually, after quite some trouble, I won their blessing to move to Maastricht. But it was worth the trouble because I found exactly what I was looking for: real personal development.
I’ve learned so much, not only from the Master’s programme, but also from living in a foreign country. My decision gave me priceless experiences and taught me about myself. I realised that I am capable of being independent and happy, with or without marriage. That I am capable of taking care of myself. Most importantly I experienced for the first time being the sole master of my life. Being my own decision-maker is now a privilege I relish even more, because I know there are women around the world who are suffering in far worse situations than I ever was.
My choice to specialise in migration studies has helped me to make sense of everything I have learned throughout my life. I began to understand on a deeper level why I wanted to come to Maastricht, why I wanted to get my Master’s degree, and why I want to continue living in the Netherlands. Based on what I have learned in my specialisation, human development is one of the most important drivers of migration, something I experienced in my own life. Human development for me was not only the educational component, but a mix of different aspects of life that helped me to achieve a version of my true self that I accept and appreciate.
After graduating from the Master’s programme, I was hired by the migration research team at UNU-MERIT, a step which I thought would be another obstacle. Convincing my family that I was going to stay in the Netherlands, despite finishing my Master’s studies, would not be easy. However, this time things were different. My mother told me: “All I want for you now is to be happy. Do what you think is right”. This was a life-changing moment for me. My experiences in the Netherlands have not only changed me, but have given me the tools to overcome obstacles – ones that I previously had to fight.
Shifting mindsets with social entrepreneurship
I hope to connect the world in a better way