Coach Resettlement at Fedasil in Belgium
We had the pleasure of talking to Sophie Prilet from Belgium, a former migration student from the joint Master's programme between the Université de Liège in Belgium and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. Sophie not only pointed out the difficulty of finding a job abroad in the field of migration, but also shared with us what strategy she used to find her current position related to her degree.
Sophie is 25 years old and currently works at the Belgian federal agency Fedasil for the reception of asylum seekers as a resettlement coach.
When asked what a normal working day is like for her, she replied that no two days are the same, as her work is very diversified:
"Some days I have to give workshops, other days I have administrative tasks to do. Sometimes I just spend time talking to the residents". In the future, there will be additional travels to meet the people who come to Belgium through the Resettlement Programme, Sophie says. However, as she is still relatively new, she has not yet had the opportunity to do so.
When asked if it was easy to find employment after graduation, Sophie had different answers depending on the location: In her opinion, it was not difficult to find a job in Belgium. The real challenge, according to Sophie, was to find a job in the field of migration, with the added challenge of finding an appropriate job abroad. But that was exactly what Sophie was initially looking for. Her goal was to work somewhere in Africa. But she was offered at best unpaid internships due to her lack of work experience.
"The big difficulty for me after graduation was to find a job that matched my expectations, my level of education and the little work experience I had."
We then asked Sophie how she overcame these challenges. She stated that she had accepted a job that did not require a master's degree, but a high school diploma. It was not exactly what she had hoped for, but it opened many doors for her later on.
Discovering different possibilities!
During her studies, Sophie had the opportunity to do an internship with IOM in Lesotho. While she initially thought she would never want to work for an international organisation (IO), this internship changed her mind: "It made me realise that the most important thing for me is not the organisation I work for, but the work I do and the results achieved."
After graduating, Sophie took some time off and then started looking for a job. However, due to a lack of work experience, she was unable to find a job abroad as she had hoped. Therefore, Sophie decided to accept the first offer related to migration and work as an educator in a centre for asylum seekers.
This job "opened the door" for Sophie to her current job as a coach in resettlement. It's a job she really enjoys, despite the uncertainties the programme brings due to the limited resettlement offer.
Her wish for the future
As for the future of this work in the migration sector, Sophie would like to see the reception conditions for asylum seekers change: Many staff in arrival centres are reaching their limits because there is simply not enough space to accommodate everyone. As a result, many asylum seekers have no choice but to sleep on the street, which is "unbelievable and shocking" for Sophie. Therefore, Sophie would like to see better long-term planning in terms of reception conditions. Not least because, especially in view of certain contexts, such as after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan or the civil war in the Ethiopian region of Tigray, certain migration movements can be easily predicted.
Tips for success
Sophie's final tip for migrant students is to take time to find out what they like by doing as many internships as possible to gain relevant experience and find out what field they would like to work in.
*INSMS is always looking for interesting career paths of former migration students. If you would like to share your professional history with the network, please contact us by email: email@example.com, Subject: P2P campaign