A project about migration in Dortmund/Germany and Boston/USA

Samstag, 16. Juni 2012

Introducing ourselves: Who are we?


I am Anushya, 23 years old and studying Cultural Studies at the Technical University of Dortmund. I am a German and a Tamilian, born in Germany but my parents being originally from Sri Lanka, fleeing the country during the civil war. Being influenced by two very different cultures, I have always been interested in immigrants in Germany and other countries.

In the seminar "America on the Ruhr" I got the opportunity to engage more deeply with this topic. Something one always hears in the discussion concerning immigrants is multiculturalism and integration.

A lot of European politicians, who criticize the concept of multiculturalism argue that it leads to segregation and among other things also nurtures terrorism. For me, multiculturalism represents the complete acceptance and tolerance of other cultures and an end of feeling threatened by people who have a different cultural background. Thereby integration is an important step to avoid any kind of disadvantage in society.

Being from another cultural background means facing difficulties in society, it is impossible to deny that. This is also the reason why I am very excited to get to know through this project how society deals with them during a time where terrorism is quite often associated with immigrants. What I am hoping is to get a more clear view on immigrants, perhaps even getting rid of cliché-ridden stereotypes and realizing their important role in society not despite but because of their cultural background.


Unfortunately, multiculturalism is hard to find in my background. My families are from Northern Germany, I was born in Northern Germany and lived in Northern Germany most of my day. Well, at least, my two brothers were born in the United States (which brought my eternal envy upon them…).

 But, multiculturalism, that is more to me than having a multinational or multicultural family background. For me it means an understanding, an openness towards other circumstances of living and of other traditions. Because without tolerance, the living-together of diverse cultures would not work. A togetherness which is inevitable in any modern society.

I lived in England for two years. And I lived in Chemnitz, in the East German state of Saxony for two years. Is that the same? Well, of course not. But there are differences in other countries as well as in other regions of one and the same country. In October, I moved to Dortmund from the state of Lower Saxony to study journalism and English. That is only two hours apart from each other. But isn’t that some sort of immigration, too? (A small one, I admit.) And now I live in an apartment with three girls, one from England, one from Turkey, one from Mexico. So who is integrating how here? Actually, that does not matter. The main thing is that it does happen. Multiculturalism? I think, you can find that simply everywhere.


Hello! I'm Sophie, I'm 23 years old and I study Education for children with (complex) learning difficulties in Dortmund. English is my subject and that's how I got involved in this seminar :)!

Throughout my childhood, my parents have always tried to introduce us to different cultures by for example taking us backpacking through Asia and sending us on every school exchange possible. All these different cultural experiences have always fascinated me and influenced my decision of going to Northern Ireland for a year after school to actually live in a new country and immerse myself in its culture. 

Even though I have encountered a lot of different cultures, it was not until I moved to Dortmund that I really experienced multiculturalism. Since moving here I experience how multicultural this city is and how much it gains through that has fascinated me.

Multiculturalism for me means, that there is no right or wrong, no true culture that everybody has to achieve but that it is a chance for everybody involved to learn something from each other and build something new together. I think that a positive co-existence is only possible if people develop respect for and interest in diversity rather than fearing it or following and believing different stereotypes.

I find this project particularly interesting because I want to see how two countries that have completely different backgrounds concerning immigration deal with this topic, its difficulties and opportunities.

1 Kommentar:

  1. It is great that you are taking the time to think about what multiculturalism means and how it affects your communities and your lives. In light of increasing globalization and the expansion of online communities, this is an exciting and important time to be asking questions about cultural awareness and diversity!