SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Internship Reflection of Nicolette

In the last few months we had the pleasure to receive the first intern from the University of Valencia. Nicolette joined the team at the end of September collaborated with SIHMA team until the 14th of December. We are really grateful of the presence of such motivated and passionate interns coming to support our activities and research and learn more about migration in Africa.

Here is her reflection on the internship at SIHMA:

My name is Nicolette Pérez Verwer and I studied Social Work at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. I have always tried to complement my studies with other trainings in order to have a complete and multidisciplinary profile. For this reason, I thought it would be an interesting and necessary step to take a second Master's degree that addressed the study of migration at an international level, taking into account the decisive role that human mobility plays in the transformation and construction of contemporary societies.

It was through this Master's degree in Migration at the University of Valencia that I first came into contact with the work being carried out through the extensive network of the Scalabrini around the world. The Scalabrini not only have missions in various countries, but also complement their work through intervention centres and research centres. Their specialisation in defending the rights of migrants and promoting their wellbeing and autonomy made them stand out for me as an internship centre in the list of options. Although the MIM (International Master's in Migration) has agreements with Scalabrinian centres in Europe and South America, the African site seemed more convenient for me to continue learning about the characteristics of human mobility in that continent. That is why I decided to apply for an in-person internship at the SIHMA (Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa).

From the very first week I was lucky enough to join a high-quality team that made it easy for me to join and made me feel very welcome in a very friendly way. Thanks to the help of another intern, I was able to quickly assimilate the different tasks carried out in the office, such as the publication of news related to migration, the dissemination of programmes and workshops for the promotion and integration of migrants and, the preparation of articles to be published on the SIHMA’s blog. All of this in a centre where is also present the "sister" organisation, Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town. The presence of the two organisations together in the same building, generates a collaborative work dynamic between the two, which supports the participation not only of volunteers from both centres, but of all the staff involved.

During my internship, I was also able to take part in a training course organised by SIHMA and other activities of the programmes carried out by the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, which enriched my experience as it allowed me not only to study the existing realities, but also to have an impact on the migrant community that came to the centre. In addition, I was able to share the experience with the SIHMA team, enjoying the support of Debby, James, Muluh and Fr Filippo during the process, as well as to share time with the members of the different programmes of the Scalabrini Centre, broadening the perspectives of the migration phenomenon through the different lines of intervention and assistance.

Doing my internship in South Africa meant for me investing extra efforts when preparing some publications, as these involved not only the research on a selected topic, but also reviewing the history of certain conflicts, the context of different displacements and highlighting any relevant legislative changes. It was necessary to re-learn and re-conceptualise certain knowledge in order to structure the information on the chosen topic correctly and to develop a comprehensive, informative and truthful article. Thus, throughout my almost three months of internship at SIHMA, I have been able to learn and develop articles on realities that were new to me and that have helped me enormously to broaden my vision of migration, its causes and consequences. It has been a luxury to learn about the various migratory flows on the African continent and to broaden my knowledge of human mobility from a different perspective to the Eurocentric one, as it has allowed me to explore issues that are not so common or less evident in the European sphere.

SIHMA is undoubtedly the right place for you if you want to do an internship where you can continue learning while putting into practice what you already know.

Here’s a list of some of the I published:

MIGRANT CHILDREN - Access to education as a fundamental right for every child, yet in practice is it applicable for unaccompanied migrant minors?

Analysing the Complexities of the Case Management of Unaccompanied Minors from the point of view of social workers at the Polokwane Child and Youth Care Centres

And I also participated in preparing and publishing the monthly press reviews.


By Nicolette Pérez Verwer.


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