‘Building in part something bigger’: A qualitative analysis of perceptions of life by immigrant youth in Galicia


Tobias Daniel


‘Building in part something bigger’: A qualitative analysis of perceptions of life by immigrant youth in Galicia

University of A Coruña, 2023


The master's thesis deals with perspectives on life of immigrant youth in Galicia, Spain. The aim of the research project is to let young people with a history of migration speak and to capture their narratives on topics relevant to them. The young people interviewed are not primarily to be categorized by their difference. Rather, the intention is to present their current life situation in the context of their international history during the phase of youth. This involves orientation and positioning processes, for instance with regard to goals, challenges and practices of security and liberty. The chosen methodological approach connects to biography-oriented youth research. Through qualitative interviews, both in-depth and focus group discussions, stories and experiences of immigrant youth in Galicia are captured. Essential steps taken in preparing and conducting the study included maintaining contact with a locally based NGO in a town of Galicia, ensuring a safe and open interview environment and selecting appropriate locations for the conversations. The interviewees mainly come from South American countries and Morocco and are between 17 and 27 years old. Each young person has unique motives for coming to Galicia, contributing to their individual stories and experiences. In Galicia, they encounter different support networks which include family members, friends and NGO initiatives. Efforts to establish social connections in Galicia are made using both physical and virtual spaces. Using a qualitative content analysis according to Mayring, the transcribed conversations were inductively coded and analyzed. The title of this research paper ‘Building in part something bigger’ uses the words of a young interviewee. He reports a complexity of feelings and thoughts that he experienced in the process of migrating from Venezuela to Galicia and the following learning process that has made him who he is today. Personal interests and hobbies play a significant role in fostering a sense of belonging and happiness in their new environment. Nature and tranquility are identified as key elements for the well-being of immigrant youth, with some considering geological conditions before choosing their future living space. Based on their previous experiences, the young people interviewed have clear ideas for their future, such as getting involved in society, building a peaceful life, and putting down roots. The confrontation with self-positioning is actively necessary for some immigrant youth, but not for all due to the self-image and external attributions from both the home and host societies.


Youth, Galicia, Perceptions of Life, Immigration