Master International Migration and Social Cohesion

Internships and ongoing research projects

Master in International Migration and Social Cohesion

Main considerations

There is a possibility of, if not volunteer internships, placements or at least contacts for service-based or participatory fieldwork within MISOCO.

Any participation depends on SEVERAL factors.
Ultimately the main considerations here are

  1. the level of direct relevance to the specialism the student is pursuing and thesis research topic and 
  2. the level of skills that the student will bring upon arrival. Such placements require a significant amount of energy – not just to set up – but particularly for the hosting group or organization.

University of Deusto

UD offers the possibility to replace a methodology course with an internship. This depends among others on the interest of the student, the need of organisations involved and (Spanish) language skills. Internships are pre-selected by the university on the grounds of content and required input of time. Institutions approached to host MISOCO students include national and international NGO´s, local associations focused on immigrant support and multicultural research and public institutions as Bilbao city council.

Only students who have already obtained sufficient methodology credits in their previous studies are eligible for this possibility.

University College Dublin

Research projects
MISOCO students are required to discuss their plans with the UCD Academic Advisor Alice Feldman before contacting any UCD staff members for research placements. Because many projects are funding-based, researchers may not yet know if funding applications have been successful, may already have hired people, or may have completed fieldwork etc by the time the student arrives. They may still be interested/willing to allow MISOCO students to participate in some aspect of the work, depending on what the student’s goals and experiences and their needs/goals.

Internships

There is a possibility of, if not volunteer internships, placements or at least contacts for service-based or participatory fieldwork. Such placements require a significant amount of energy – not just to set up – but particularly for the group or organization that is hosting the student. There will not be any funds available to support them in this process, and it is essential, that the host group benefits from the student's contribution – that it is not a one-way process, whereby everything is about the student's own benefit, which will, ultimately, always be an ‘issue’ if any kind of community-based research is done, particularly as a student, whose inevitable primary objective is getting a degree, and regardless of intentions, it is typically the case that the student simply does not have the resources or time to make the contribution they'd like to.
This is especially an issue in Ireland – with Ireland’s fairly rapid shift to in-migration, there was a significant level of ‘burn out’ among migrants (particularly refugees and asylum seekers) and the feeling that they were being exploited and ‘used’ by NGOs, researchers and policymakers. While there has been a notable increase in migrant-led civic activity and direct participation, there are still persistent issues around this, and again, most groups in Ireland lack decent funding, so it will be important that students have something to contribute, while engaged for the purposes of developing skills and/or research.
Even if the student is not seeking or in need of an actual ‘placement’ as such, particularly if qualitative fieldwork is done, the student will need to put a lot of thought and time into planning and gaining access to the samples of individuals and/or groups necessary for research. Much of the same type of energy and work that would go into organizing an internship is required for gaining access to contacts and research participants – both on the student's parts and and the part of the academic advisor – as she will provide the primary support in assisting the student in this process, at least in the first instance. Even if students don’t begin the actual fieldwork until the second semester of year 2, they will need to be gaining ‘entrée’ into the field during semester 1. Keep in mind, while the student may only be here for one year, UCD staff, their relationships and future work with contacts and networks are ongoing (and UCD staff therefore want to make the right decisions). So a lot depends on the individual student, thinking about and refining the research focus and research design, especially as this contributes to the planning of a viable and rich thesis project.

Published by  MISOCO

31 August 2012