Compte rendu du séjour de recherche de Rehan Tariq au sein du centre de recherche Engage


Rehan Tariq, doctorant à l'Université Sains en Malaisie, est arrivé en Belgique en février pour un séjour prévu initialement sur 3 mois (projet Crédit Mobility, programme Erasmus+). Son projet de thèse traite des effets communicationnels des médias sociaux sur la participation politique des jeunes électeurs et électrices au Pakistan. Malheureusement, il a vécu ce séjour confiné et décide de nous raconter son expérience.
Research & stay at the land of chocolates and waffles
Joining Engage - Research Center for Publicness in Contemporary Communication, has been a wonderful experience of my research career. At the very initial stage, I was motivated to go through a learning experience with scholars at Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles. The appetite of learning was transformed into excitement after my first meeting with Marie Dufrasne and Geoffroy Patriarche. But, unfortunately, all these feelings were intercepted by COVID-19 pandemic, and, I failed to fully rejoice the glade tidings. It was really difficult, for a person like me, to bear the lock down soon after arrival at an entirely new society with limited social connections. I would like to appreciate Geoffroy Patriarche and Isabelle De Clerck (international relations service), whose regular interaction, quick response and weekly meetings helped me to adjust in new controlled social environment.
Later, in weekly meetings with Geoffroy Patriarche, I redesigned my research activities, thoroughly discussed my PhD research and validated the survey questionnaire. Meanwhile, access to Marie Dufrasne’s online library assisted me to go through a valuable literature on politics and communication. Incorporation of online learning experience helped me to finalize my PhD survey questionnaire and conduct the pilot study. Moreover, the pilot study results demonstrated no issue in the understanding of the questions by the respondents, therefore, I circulated the instrument for actual data collection. Additionally, I enhanced my skills in quantitative data analysis software i.e. smartPLS. Overall, during my stay I reviewed literature on some new research ideas, read some literature on the political history of Belgium, and observed how Belgian people with different identities, origins and religions are living together peacefully. Most importantly, I believe, the addition of new links in my research directory will be helpful in my research endeavours.
Furthermore, living in Brussels and not sharing the travelling experience is simply injustice. Soon after my arrival there was lock down, so at that time I had nothing to experience except exploring some parks and wandering in empty streets of Brussels. However, during the second half of May, markets and coffee shops reopened. I had a sigh of relief that at least I would have some more things to experience and explore. Meanwhile, due to CoVID-19 my flight cancelled, though, it was a sad news but later it proved to be a blessing in disguise. I got an entire one additional month to explore the street life at Brussels. Visiting Waterloo with Geoffroy Patriarche and making a tour of mini Europe are memorable moments for me. Honestly, sweat bites of Belgian chocolates and waffles while sitting in park, and enjoying sunny day in a traditional street restaurant or coffee shop are such wonderful feelings, impossible for me to express in words.