A collection of twelve stories highlighting the key emerging themes of the research from the experiences of both those that are 'new' to Europe and those that 'welcome' them.
How do you deal with the present when the past haunts you day in and day out? How do you make sense of the future when everything seems unclear and unstable, with moments of despair, loss and insecurity? All of the newcomers we met had to deal with the trauma of the past, of war and destitution and the dangers of migration, while simultaneously navigating their new environments, trying to get started again, so that there is — so that there can be — a future after all. Whatever their individual experiences, struggles and coping mechanisms have been, all of their stories are testimony to their incredible resilience, to the unbending will of human endurance and to moments of love, kindness and, indeed, of hope that can change a life even under the direst of circumstances.
While some newcomers in all three cities immediately fell in love with their new environments — ‘we love the city,’ ‘this is where I want to stay’ or ‘we really feel at home in our flat’ — especially the younger ones seemed to attach their hope specifically to potential educational and professional opportunities, finding hope in the possibility of building a new life for themselves, or new skills with which to return. For most people, a hopeful vision of the future crucially hinges upon the well-being of their families.
HOPE IN A LESS THAN HOPEFUL CONTEXT
It is this permanent state of suspension and insecurity that newcomers face that can even destabilise the most resilient. From not finding a job and struggling with education to not being able to reunite with family, newcomers often have to grapple with so many challenges at the same time that a hopeful future becomes ever more contingent and unsure. These experiences of pure hopelessness again ruthlessly show the horrific aftermaths of war, of forced migration and of hostile border regimes that again and again put people’s visions and hopes for the future to existential test.