Menu English

You have to fight to get there: an exploratory study into the experiences of refugee-background students in higher education

Publicatie van Kenniscentrum Talentontwikkeling

D.A. Dijk,van, A. Kooiman | Artikel | Publicatiedatum: 22 juni 2023
Many refugees aspire to continue or start higher education studies in their host country. However, higher education is difficult to access for refugees due to various obstacles such as a lack of (reliable) information and admission criteria. If they manage to access higher education they experience specific problems during their studies, related to their backgrounds. Institutions therefore need to provide refugee-background students with suitable support. Based on an explorative study among fifteen refugee students, we argue that focusing on equity and inclusion is fundamental to successfully support refugee students. We interviewed refugee students twice: in the first and the second year after they started their program. In addition, before the student interviews took place, we interviewed seventeen education professionals who are involved with refugee-background students, to gain good insight in the range of support that was available for the students. According to our study, refugee students are highly motivated but less able to capitalize on higher education for their aspirations because of multiple disadvantages. Besides unfamiliarity with the Dutch education system and a language barrier, they encounter exclusionary mechanisms. They struggle to connect with fellow students and do not always feel safe to ask questions or seek support, while inclusion and a sense of belonging are crucial for study success. Existing organizational resources can be valuable; however, refugee students have difficulties utilizing these for their benefit. Offering support alone is not enough: students must be able to use the support for their goals, which now is often not the case. If we want to strive for inclusive education for these students more diversity in approach, support, and resources is required.

Auteur(s) - verbonden aan Hogeschool Rotterdam

Betrokken bij deze publicatie