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María José Velasquez Flores

“Migration is not just about poor people fleeing their home countries. In our global world anyone can be a migrant.”


So says María José Velásquez Flores. She is one of several students engaged in the University’s Global Week, an event full of arrangements for those who are interested in the world’s really big issues.

María José Velásquez Flores comes from La Paz in Bolivia and visited Gothenburg for the first time in 2013. Now she is pursuing her second year of a master’s program in global studies, but has also taken time to commit herself to the University’s annual Global Week. And this year’s theme is perhaps more relevant than ever since it is about global migration; in the world, in Sweden and in Gothenburg.

“Many exchange students don’t perceive themselves as migrants because “migrant” for them is a person who flees their homeland, for political or economic reasons. But I myself see no problem in describing myself as a migrant. It’s true that I’m here as a student but everyone who leaves their country for a shorter or longer period has their different reasons.”
Global Week is therefore an excellent opportunity to learn more about migration, says María.

“Migration is about open borders, but that is not enough, people from other cultures should also be encouraged to participate in the new country’s society. But as I see it, we’re all global citizens, who now and then cross various borders, and we need to constantly challenge our preconceptions.”

Which is not always so easy, admits María.
“I used to believe that, for instance, all Swedes are cold and hard to get to know. But once I crossed the threshold, I understood that that’s simply not true. In my program at the School of Global Studies about half of the students are Swedes, the other half comes from different countries. But all are friends and socialize in an open manner. So I myself had a stereotypical image of Sweden that proved to be totally wrong.”

So what would you suggest other students to do at Global Week?
“I hope people will come and listen to interesting lectures and learn exiting things. But Global Week is also about meeting students from completely different parts of the university; and what’s fascinating is that they sometimes have new perspectives that you yourself maybe never even thought of.”
 

Interview made by Eva Lundgren

Maria Jose Velasquez Flores Global Week

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María José Velasquez Flores, Global Studies, Master level

Page Manager: Jessica Glanzelius|Last update: 10/1/2015
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