Many of those in my peer group travel abroad to either a) have ludicrous adventures or b) commit acts of altruism. While I am certain there will be no shortage of “a)” and my present field of study will inevitably lead to “b)”, I cannot really paint myself as either adventurer or altruist; a) I am too lazy and b) I am too cynical. This is not to say that I don’t care about a) or b), necessarily, it’s just that, while I don’t have any certainty as to What I Want To Do With My Life 24-Year-Old Life just yet* I do have this vague goal of making The Academy more accessible to The Public, and what necessarily follows is that I move what I study in Academia from dusty old books to dusty old streets. Do you follow**? I guess, than, that I am traveling to pursue a third option, c) Research (and what an ugly word that is!), with an attempt to sprinkle in a little a) (for fun) and b) (for sanity).
I am not really sure yet how Migration & Refugee Studies will fit into this. My intention for a Master’s Thesis is to examine notions of National Identity and how it fits into both the Egyptian experience and the Migrant experience. I can tell you, semi-enthusiastically, even, that if there is one thematic that I’d like to continue to explore in my academic future, it is Nationalism (Masculinity and Whiteness come in close second and third, respectively, but that is ANOTHER day) and how it affects the immigrant/refugee/migrant experience. Nationality as a concept holds a lot of power in determining whether or not a subaltern community (say, refugees) legitimately has agency. Eventually, I would like to pursue a doctoral degree and so really, these two years are determining whether I want to continue in this region/topic or not, while also leaving me an option to potentially do more hands-on work with refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities worldwide.
While my primary occupation will be as a student, I am also looking forward to interacting with the Cairo community-at-large and examining the varying things I come in contact with as an expatriate, as a woman, and as someone who really loves this place. I am hoping to hone my writing skills as well, in hopes that this can help me both scholastically and on a personal level, so any and all commentary and observations from the diaspora that is my extended community of friends and family worldwide is wholly welcome.
*Well. I have ruled out some things that I Don’t Want To Do and some of these things are Work in an Administrative Office, Pursue a Career in Business, Be a Housewife, &c.
**Bear with me. In spite of having the best intentions, I am a product of my surroundings and yes, this sometimes means Great Critical Thinkers who use the most obtuse and inaccesible language. This language got me A’s on papers but really won’t get me anywhere else very quickly, and it’s something that I am still learning to harness and combat.