A trainee's experience - Living Conditions and Quality of Life

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My name is Maarten Koomen and I am from the Netherlands. Last year I received my Masters in migration and ethnicity at the International School for Humanities and Social Sciences in Amsterdam. One of the great things about attending an international school is that there are a lot of international students. I found studying in such a international setting very pleasant and inspiring. Needless to say, I am happy to find a similar atmosphere at Eurofound, where I can once more work with people from all corners of the world and all walks of life.

Before I moved to Dublin I had the pleasure to work with researchers from the University of Amsterdam on a project analysing the incorporation of Islam and Muslim minorities in six European member states [www.eurislam.eu]. Anja van Heelsum, one of the researchers I worked with closely, told me about her experiences working with Eurofound on the CLIP project. After I had finished my work for EurIslam, Anja told me about a possible traineeship at Eurofound and I decided to apply.

It turns out that this was a decision I did not come to regret. The work at Eurofound is challenging and provides plenty of opportunities to hone my skills as a researcher. I am happy that my work here is characterised by much freedom and responsibility. I truly feel that I can have an input and, more importantly perhaps, that this input is valued by my colleagues and our target audiences. On the other hand, I am also learning how to do research and write up reports for a tripartite EU research agency. 

My main task is to help compile a report on the housing and health situation of Roma in Europe. Especially the possible link between substandard housing and the pervasive inequalities in health and access to health care are on the agenda. What I think will be the added value of our work is the balanced presentation of researches findings and a comprehensive secondary analysis on the available data that we will provide.

I believe there exists an understandable momentum for Roma inclusion strategies for the moment, hence the time seems ripe to identify specific housing and health issues, and to find good practices to address them. At the end of August, when my traineeship will be over, I aim to have a bag full of good memories and a report that honours the severity of the situation of the Roma, whilst providing some hope for the future. 

Maarten Koomen