Geography Courses in the Identity Construction and Spatial Belonging Development of Turkish-origin Students Living in Germany
Keywords:Spatial Belonging; Perception of Place; Geography Course; Germany; Turkish-Origin Students; Phenomenology
The aim of this study is to find out the contributions of geography courses to the spatial belonging development and identity construction of Turkish-origin students from different types of schools located in North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) state in Germany. In this study, one of the qualitative research designs, namely phenomenology, will be employed. Phenomenology is the most suitable methodological tool for this study, as it enables us to focus on experiences, livings, thoughts, sense, and feelings of individuals. The study group was determined in accordance with purposive sampling. The data was collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed with the “MAXQDA 11" qualitative data analysis software and categories were formed. According to the research results, Turkish-origin students are aware of the important role that geography courses take firstly in familiarizing with Germany, the country they live in. It was revealed that geography courses provide students with the sense of spatial belonging and help them to embrace the place they live in by creating a certain perception of place. In other words, Turkish-origin students feel that they are part of Germany because they feel that they belong to the place. The fact that they see Germany as their home country is one of the indicators of interiorizing the geography. For them, Germany is their home country whereas Turkey is their motherland. As their families’ motherland concept is related to Turkey, they transmit the concept of motherland from their families to their social realities.