SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

Ángela Hernández López

My name is Ángela Hernández López, I am 25 years old and I am Spanish. I was born and raised in Valencia. After opting for an economic and social baccalaureate, where I started to study subjects such as sociology and psychopedagogy, I opted for a social degree and studied Social Work. I am currently a Social Worker at the University of Valencia and one year at the University of Torino in Italy. In Turin, I did the Erasmus programme for one academic year. I also obtained a mention in Interculturality, Cooperation and Social Exclusion at the University of Valencia.


Since I started my degree I have been interested in migration, displacement, refugees and everything related. I have had the opportunity to participate on different occasions in volunteering, the Erasmus programmes, internships and a civic service, all of which I have done in different European countries: France, Spain and Italy, so in a way, I have also experienced what it is like to be a 'foreigner'. Almost all my professional experiences are related to the phenomenon of migration as it is something I am really passionate about, professionally and personally.


I am currently in my second and final year of the International Master in Migration, MIM. This Master has given me the opportunity to do an internship outside of Europe to learn about migration from a non-European perspective. I have been a research intern at SIHMA for three months, from November 2021 to February 2022. The first part of this experience has been face-to-face from November to December and the second part remotely, from January to February.


During my stay at SIHMA, I have written a blog about the situation of climate crisis and famine in the south of Madagascar and together with my colleague, Marzia Marzenta, we wrote a blog about us and the University of Valencia. I have participated with my colleagues Marzia Marzenta and Nicolette Pérez in the search for international, regional and local news to write the November, December and January Press Review.


I also participated in the Blurb publications which consisted of finding a current news item on displacement or important events on migration on the African continent, we had to summarize the news and publish it on SIHMA's Facebook page and on Twitter. I have also made different 'Did u know' posts about different topics, some of these include 'Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia are three of the top ten countries in the world hosting refugees', '18th December the International Day of Migrants', 'Emigration and immigration in South Africa' and 'Migrant Detention Centers'. ‘Did u know' posts are posted on Instagram one day a week.


I have also done research on the Lindela migrant detention center in Johannesburg and a paper on Congo's migration profile, among other things. Together with my partner Marzia Marzenta, we participated in Women's Platform programmes and had the opportunity to meet the Lawrence House team, as well as the children and professionals working there.


From a more personal point of view, I went to Cape Town with a very basic level of English so I had a big handicap from the beginning. Language is something very important, we could define it simply as the element that allows us to communicate with others, that does not put barriers in our way. I have had a big linguistic barrier with this language, I like languages and I have a facility to learn them, but I had never been in an English-speaking country and it has been complicated. Besides, in Cape Town there is no standard English, each person has a different accent, which is normal, but it makes understanding difficult in my case. This problem of understanding the language has made my practice and my stay more difficult because in many moments I have not been able to express myself or show myself as I am. But on the other hand, it has also been a personal challenge as all the publications, blogs, etc. I did were done in English, sometimes I have had difficulties or double work as I have had to translate and re-read and review everything, but I have done it and I am proud of myself.


From another point of view it has been interesting as I had never been in direct contact with social networks, making publications, blogs, etc. In addition, the articles we read for the blogs as well as the news we looked for to make the blurb or the did u know are very interesting and bring you closer to the different current events on the African continent. I also found the blog I wrote about Madagascar very interesting and it brought me closer to the reality the country is currently going through.

Overall, it has been a good experience to be part of the SIHMA team during these three months. Thank you for your welcome and for giving us the opportunity to learn with you. My internship has been a great learning experience professionally and personally.

Thanks to P. Filippo, James, Muluh and Debby for all that I have been able to learn from you during these three months of internship, and for the good team that SIHMA has. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you.


Here are 2 blogposts I contributed to: