Refugees and the Difficulty of Integration
Our 2018 book club discussed Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West. Hamid’s novel tells the tale of two remarkable young people, Nadia and Saeed, as they meet in an unnamed country on the brink of civil war. As the city they live in descends into chaos, Nadia and Saeed decide to seek a way out through a magic doorway that whisks them to the Greek island of Mykonos. As they travel through new doorways, each leading to an uncertain future and an alien place, the characters struggle to hold onto each other, the past, and the very sense of who they are. In this way Hamid tells a story that focuses less on the physical perils of refugees, and more on the emotional and mental struggle entailed in seeking refuge.
This packet was a supplement to the book club discussion group, and contains resources related to the themes of the book, as well as broader issues of global migration and refugees.
Book club members met on May 1st to discuss the themes of Exit West and how a teacher might use the book in the classroom. The discussion was lead and moderated by Global Classroom Director Ryan Hauck. Teachers purposed using the book as a way to enlighten students on the struggles of refugees to attain equity once they have arrived at their destination. Media often focuses on the struggle of the journey of refugees while leaving out the post arrival attempts to integrate. There were also many connections made to our local refugee and immigrant population here in Seattle. Teachers believed using this book to enlighten students on our local situation would be productive in allowing students to connect a huge global issue to something more manageable.