MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Learning about Ireland through a Syrian Woman's Life Story An autoethnographic research of education resources for Syrian refugees in Ireland

    Nassli, Kinda (2023) Learning about Ireland through a Syrian Woman's Life Story An autoethnographic research of education resources for Syrian refugees in Ireland. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

    Download (885kB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    In 2011 the humanitarian crisis in Syria caused the displacement of millions of Syrian people who relocated to Europe seeking international protection and became refugees, The Irish government agreed to accept up to 4000 refugees in 2016. These refugees were supposed to learn how to belong to their new home culture and integrate with the Irish community that speaks a different language by engaging in educational courses and events planned by adult tutors and educators. My name is Kinda, and I am a Syrian woman who came to Ireland through a reunification programme. Since my arrival, I have been learning English, adapting to a new culture, attending meetings, and trying to understand the system. However, I feel like I have lost a part of my identity as I have been labelled as a refugee and told what I need to learn to integrate into my new home. It's been a struggle to reconcile who I was with who the new world expects me to be. There was a distance between me and the educators in Ireland, the space created a gap between me and the world I used to know, and I discovered that my beliefs, ideas and skills are not helping me anymore. My disconnection with the educators I met was not because of the language barrier or the new cultural barrier, it was because Irish educators did not see me as an experienced individual, they saw me as an object in the package they had just received. All they have to do is, read the label, open it gently, follow the criteria, tick the boxes, and mission completed. At least, this is how I experienced this process. In this study, I am searching and analysing my personal experience as an adult learner refugee and as a facilitator working with Syrian adult refugee learners in Ireland. I will explore Mezirow's perspective on transformative learning theory and Illeris's contribution to the concept of identity in relation to this theory. I am critically and subjectively analysing how I was labelled as a refugee, overwhelmed with the knowledge I needed to learn while struggling to understand the stigma and shame of my new identity as a refugee. The changes happening in society and the effort to integrate into the Irish culture taught by the educators left me paralysed with cultural shock, and it was different from the Irish culture that I was struggling to learn about. I started my own learning process by observing my new world, writing my feelings, reading what I wrote, changing, losing and finding myself again, but still feeling fragile. The real change happened when I met adult educators in higher education who started a discourse with me based on respect for my culture and previous life experience. The emancipation from labels and assumptions enabled me to join higher education and be a Master’s student at Maynooth University and finally find myself again. My voice vanished when I first arrived in Ireland. Today in this thesis, I gained it back, and I want to add to the European outsider academic scholars an insider voice from the Syrian refugee community through evocative storytelling research about my learning journey to integrate into Ireland.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Learning about Ireland through a Syrian Woman's Life Story autoethnographic research; education resources; Syrian refugees; Ireland;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Adult and Community Education
    Item ID: 17779
    Depositing User: Suzanne Redmond Maloco
    Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2023 11:26
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

      Repository Staff Only(login required)

      View Item Item control page


      Downloads per month over past year

      Origin of downloads