The second time she travelled to Türkiye from her home country of Brazil, the trip was cut short when an explosion compromised the country’s security status. But Patricia Porto de Barros Ayaz had enough time to notice the country had changed since she’d last been there and she was inspired to learn more.
“This was during the civil war in Syria and many refugees were going to Türkiye. I saw before and after the influx of refugees, and I got interested. I wanted to know why they couldn't go further, couldn't go to the European Union.”
Her drive to understand eventually brought her to Dalhousie where she could work on her PhD with Dr. Ruben Zaiotti, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science who focuses on migration management and border control.
“It’s a really great match. I am so lucky because, in addition to having a strong background in these topics, Dr. Zaiotti has also been a great supervisor.”
It wasn’t the only time Porto de Barros Ayaz had an experience that motivated her to act.
Her move to Nova Scotia meant filling out paperwork that didn’t quite capture her identity, so Porto de Barros Ayaz became a research assistant at Immigrant Migrant Women's Association of Halifax on a project designed to ensure the health-care system responds to the needs of the changing population of Nova Scotia.
Once at Dal, she signed up to be a mentor in the Together@Dal (grad edition) program because she had such a positive interaction with her own mentor.
“I was in Türkiye during the pandemic and my classes were all online and he helped me feel connected. Now that I know a lot about the Canadian experience, I too want to help others.”
Porto de Barros Ayaz is expecting to complete her PhD in the next year or two and says there’s no limit to where it might take her.
"As a researcher you can work on many things. Although my studies are related to migration and human rights, my skills can be used in many different ways.”
For now, Porto de Barros Ayaz is looking forward to making the most of her experience in Nova Scotia.
This story appeared in the DAL Magazine Spring/Summer 2023 issue. Flip through the rest of the issue using the links below.
comments powered by Disqus