I had decided to write every experience from the beginning of my doctoral study. However, it was not possible due to many reasons! But, it has to document anyways.
The beginning was last year. New country, new career thought and others, I felt lost. There was no one to say that, trust yourself, do not break. It was not that easy to start a new career again when I had spent nearly eight years of my career in my country!
Germany is a great country! But, the major problem is its language. If you do not know Deutsch, there is no way to survive with a bright career. There are always many hopes for IT personnel. But social researchers/anthropologist like me, do not even have that hope without Deutsch, believe me. Meanwhile, it was not possible for me to join the Deutsch course with my little one. Time flies. Even I didn’t get time to open my laptop for searching PhD or practising language! I was frustrated and then motivated myself. It seemed to me that if I give up, I can not do it again like before. So, I started to fight since then.
When my boy slept, I started to find out where I could apply for PhD in English. It was also difficult to find a professor. A professor was interested in my research topic. A lot of discussions was held between January and March, last year. I became almost panic. Then I went to meet my professor. What I said and what I heard was all over the head!!
She asked me, if you don’t mind, can I ask a personal question?
I said, yes!
Why do you wear hijab? You did not wear it before, I guess. So, what’s the reason?
I was ready for this question. But usually, I do not want to discuss it. I do not even want to share my acquaintance with anyone. So I gave a partial answer.
She said, do you know that due to the hijab you will have to face problems in many ways?
Is it so? But the second largest population of Germany is Muslim !! Out of 4 women, at least two women are seen wearing hijab on the street!
There is nothing new to you about the history and politics of hijab. I hope your understanding is clear on it. But you know very well that due to this politics of identity, you will be stereotyped in many workspaces which will be problematic for you.
We talked for about three hours that day!
Then I started to write the proposal. During the writing, I fell into difficulty. There wasn’t any book related to the topic; the books in the library were written in Deutsche, and it was on German policy! I didn’t have any knowledge of it. So, after reading the write up she said, we should talk! Then we talked and the essence of what she said was that nothing would be done by me.!! I heard those words with tears and I realized I was an idiot !!
And the next few days, I rebuked and cursed myself. Then I started working on new enthusiasm. At night, when my little one was asleep, I took the laptop sitting beside him and started studying. I had to put one hand on my son’s chest, and typing on the laptop’s with the other hand !! I had tried hard to write a new proposal and e-mailed it to the professor. And wrote a short note, ‘I’m afraid that you might be angry to see my e-mail. Though I have tried to study a lot in the last few days and prepared a new research proposal. If you think the same thing about me, I will not disturb you anymore.’ She replied a few days later, ‘dear, I am more optimistic. And could you talk to some refugees by now? Do you think it’s possible to conduct a study on them? Let’s talk!’
”I had spoken with many people for observing the situation of my field. They said it would certainly be possible, but it will be difficult and will take a few months. Though they do not seem to talk anytime. So I shall not get the chance to speak or listen more at once, because of that it will take a lot of time. I informed her that if the target populations keep flexible, then the respondents will be easy to find. That means not only Rohingya but also others who have not received the permission yet. There are many people. It is easy for the Rohingyas to go to India, Malaysia rather than coming to Europe. So, little number of Rohingya came to Europe. Some of them also came to Germany via Italy. It’s hard to find them.”
After a few months, it was found that working on the topic would be very difficult for me to get. So, there were some new changes in the topic. And then, what? The newly written proposal was declined!! Once again I started reading and writing from another new angle!! She said, remember that I am your nanny. So, you have to learn to do your own work yourself.
Every time I talked about admission and applications, she said, you are still not ready !! Finally, I am asked to complete the application form. And, of course, a form was amended several times and I had filled up again and again !! Then professor said that ‘now it looks perfect.’
Today, I officially applied. I do not know whether I can succeed or not in the end by winning all the hurdles. Let’s see!! Hope for the best.