Thursday, June 9, 2011

Research Proposal: Turkish Immigrants in German Education System

During the duration of the Honors in Berlin program, I will be studying Turkish immigrants in the German education system.  I feel that when one decides to emigrate from their native country to move to another, often times it is to provide their family with a safer, more secure, and prosperous future that often would not be possible if they remained in their country of origin.  Education is seen as a very large window of opportunity to leading a successful and prosperous life, and it is especially sought after if there are barriers to reaching a higher education where one currently resides. 
            From my work and participation in the University of Washington Dream Project, I have learned that first-generation and low-income students are less likely than any other type of students to attain a higher education because they lack the support and resources needed to successfully navigate through the process.  While the path to higher education is accessible for any and all individuals who wish to go down that path, society tends to forget that there is such a huge difference between equality and equity.  Because of socioeconomic, societal, political, and cultural barriers that have structurally taken place, this creates a significantly uneven playing field for everyone who wishes to attain the same goal.
            I feel as though all of these barriers stem from what kind of cultural capital one has and how it places someone in society.  I want to study what cultural values Turkish populations have when they immigrate to Germany and how those values influence their identity and prosperity in German culture.  I want to study what individualistic assumptions are being made and shed more light on the structural barriers placed on Turkish populations to becoming more integrated in German society and being more advantageous in the German education system.  I have evaluated that my best approach to this would be to study the literature already available, taking notes and pictures to give a visual encapsulation of my observations, and conducting interviews with the Turkish immigrants themselves, as they would provide a powerful voice to my findings.

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