Postgraduate Lives: Catheryn Cheetham, student at City University

From Sudan to... Bolton

Catheryn Cheetham, 29, is doing an MA in refugee studies and human rights at City University in London

When I graduated with a degree in French and Spanish, I had no idea what I wanted from life. I worked in an office-based job and then enrolled in a Tefl course in Cairo. I stayed for two years teaching English and what I noticed was the divide between the Sudanese and Egyptian students, and between the Coptic Christians and the Muslims, especially in the children's classes. I was curious as to why this was. One day I was talking to a Sudanese student after class and he just poured his heart out about how, as a Christian, he had been persecuted in Sudan. Now he was in Cairo where some Egyptian students wouldn't even sit next to anyone from Sudan.

I then spent two years in China with VSO, and returned to the UK wrongly thinking I was guaranteed a job in the development sector. I went for a lot of charity jobs believing I was really suitable and had the experience, but I didn't even get an interview. So I temped for six months for Immigration at Stansted airport before eventually returning to education. I chose the MA course at City University because the lecturers are well-known specialists in their field.

It's a modular course, but you can sit in on other classes as well. We began with an introduction to refugee studies; we've studied crimes against humanity and introduction to social research methods. We've also looked at the media image of refugees: how the tabloids are quite negative, local newspapers are often positive, running "let them stay" and anti deportation campaigns.

There are three solutions to the refugee "problem": repatriation, being allowed to stay, or being relocated to a third country. My dissertation will look at the Gateway Project, a resettlement programme run by the Home Office. It was introduced in 2004 and allows 500 refugees a year into the UK, although that quota hasn't been met yet.

My research will focus on Sudanese refugees in Bolton, particularly women, who came from refugee camps in Uganda and arrived in the UK earlier this year. Refugee Action in Bolton has noted that women sometimes don't integrate as well as men, whether because of where they come from, the male hierarchy they are used to, or the injustices they have suffered. There is no set definition of integration, but it includes things like employment, language and whether people feel they belong to a community.

I want to know if the women can pinpoint why they haven't integrated as well as the men, how things can be improved and, in the longer term, how this can be implemented.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Developer - Norfolk - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Software Developer - Norf...

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?