EASA2012: Uncertainty and disquiet

Nanterre University, France, 10/07/2012 – 13/07/2012

(W118)

The role of education in transnational youth migration (EN)

Location V301
Date and Start Time 11 Jul, 2012 at 11:30

Convenors

Karen Fog Olwig (University of Copenhagen) email
Vered Amit (Concordia University) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This session examines the role of migration for education - including both formal education and practical training - as an integrated part of migrants' and their families' livelihood strategies, and the uncertainties, hopes and ambitions for social and physical mobility linked to these strategies.

Long Abstract

In recent years migration for educational purposes has become a global mass phenomenon rather than a privilege of select elites. In Europe the internationalization and commercialization of the educational market, combined with the need for labour in certain occupational niches for youths, has opened up new pathways for young people from developing and post-socialist countries desiring to migrate. This session examines the role of education - ranging from formal education to practical training - as an integrated part of the livelihood strategies of migrants and their families, and the uncertainties, hopes and ambitions for social and physical mobility linked to these strategies. Key questions include:

• How do economic and political conditions, family support and individual resources and aspirations in the country of origin motivate young people from developing and post-socialist countries to migrate to the global north, and what role do educational ambitions play in this migration strategy?

• What kinds of qualifications and competencies do young migrants acquire formally and informally during their stay abroad? Does this international experience give them qualifications that may improve their social and economic opportunities in their home countries? And how do the migrants' experiences and achievements match their own and their families' expectations of the programmes?

• In which ways do young migrants draw on local and transnational social networks in identifying their destination, in organizing their travel and migration, and in mobilizing resources necessary for establishing, maintaining and enhancing their livelihood in new locations?

Discussant: Caroline Knowles

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Education abroad: travel for enlightenment or migratory travail?

Author: Karen Fog Olwig (University of Copenhagen)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

This paper calls for the need to find a middle ground between the celebratory and the critical approach to youths’ travel for educational purposes by adopting a broader notion of education that can encompass the wide range of experiences gained by this kind of migration.

Long Abstract

While there is a long tradition of travel for educational purposes, such movement has been of little interest to migration researchers until recently, perhaps because it has been associated with the classic grand tour of the privileged elite or the international exchange programs offered to middle-class students. Of late, however, it has become apparent that growing numbers of international students derive from the third world or post-socialist countries and that their movement bears many similarities to labor migration, a classic topic in migration research. It thus involves many youths with limited economic means who often engage in unskilled and low-paid wage employment, with poor legal protection, in order to support both their studies and the family that helped finance their travel abroad. It has even been suggested that many international students may be disguised labor migrants who use student visas to gain entry to foreign labor markets. Whereas international education among Western youths has been seen to lead to intellectual and personal development, contemporary studies thus tend to stress the exploitative practices associated with this form of migration. Drawing on research on Caribbean migration for training in nursing this paper argues that there is a need to find a middle ground between the celebratory and the critical approach to youths' travel for educational purposes. It is suggested this may be found by adopting a broader notion of education that can encompass the wider range of experiences to be gained by this kind of migration.

"Migration without tears": British child migration to colonial southern Rhodesia

Author: Katja Uusihakala (University of Helsinki)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

This paper examines a colonial child migration scheme under which British impoverished boys and girls were sent to Southern Rhodesia to become permanent settlers. It focuses on how questions of class, race and education figure in the process of selecting suitable children who could be molded into ideal colonial citizens.

Long Abstract

The Rhodesia Fairbridge Memorial College was established in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1946 where it ran until 1962 as a boarding school for British child emigrants who were permanently resettled to Rhodesia. The aim of the College was to offer impoverished boys and girls of "solid British stock" a good education, and to increase "the strength and numerical superiority of the British element in Africa" as the Fairbridge Society's publicity brochure declares. What was crucial for the success of the scheme was choosing the right kind of a child migrant. In this paper I discuss the project of crafting an ideal colonial citizen by means of selecting suitable children to be brought up to strengthen and uphold the Empire. Whereas similar child emigration programs had previously been established in Australia and Canada, in Southern Rhodesia the requirements for the right kind of a child appear to have been much stricter. The children needed to have a reasonably solid family background and to be of sound physical and mental health in order to be suitable for training into managerial positions. Conversely, the wrong kind of a child would be susceptible to the close proximity and influence of the African majority and thus vulnerable to slippage when it came to upholding the racial boundaries of the colonial society. Through this case I will discuss and analyze how the questions of class, race and education within the British imperial endeavor are epitomized in the figure of the uprooted and re-placed child.

Contemporary educational migration from Macedonia to Turkey: personal strategies and choices in context of transnational policy

Author: Anna Zadrożna (Yeditepe University)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

In this paper I reflect on contemporary educational migration from Macedonia to Turkey. Basing on personal stories of the young scholars I describe their motivations and choices in wider context of transnational ties, strategies and Turkish policy towards former Ottoman countries.

Long Abstract

Educational migration from Macedonia to Turkey has a long tradition. Since Ottoman Empire it was a common practice to send the young people to educational centre, which was Istanbul. Today, in former Ottoman countries Turkey is sill perceived as economic and political power, and there are strong transnational ties between Turkey and those countries. One of the strategies undertaken by Turkey towards former Ottoman countries is compensational policy, also regarding educational field.

I this paper I concentrate on contemporary educational migration from Macedonia to Turkey. I describe the governmental fellowship program, in frame of which every year Turkey accepts dozens of young students from Macedonia. I present various institutions, through which young people enter this fellowship, as well as accompanying possibilities of learning in Turkey. Thereafter, basing on personal stories of the scholars who study or have studied in Turkey, I describe their personal strategies and motivations, and discuss possibilities which studying abroad gives to these young people. I also reflect on personal identifications and family ties of the scholars, as well as their place in transnational ties connecting Macedonia and Turkey since years. Therefore, I analyze personal strategies in wider historical, economic and political context. Finally, I reflect on scholarship program as a part of the transnational: social network and Turkish political strategy.

Key words: educational migration, transnational ties, personal stories, policy

'Uncertainty of Outcome' as a principle of educational migration: the case of Ukrainian agricultural apprentices in Denmark

Author: Vera Skvirskaja (University of Copenhagen )  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

This paper explores sensibilities of belonging to a European and/or post-socialist geopolitical space among young Ukrainian agricultural apprentices in Denmark as well as the range of opportunities this migration affords. It argues that this form of educational migration is principally characterized by uncertainty of outcome.

Long Abstract

This paper explores the dynamics of uncertainty and sensibilities of belonging to a European and/or post-socialist geopolitical space among young Ukrainian migrants who come to Denmark for a period of traineeship in the agricultural sector. The programme is facilitated by a special visa regime and provides an injection of cheap labour into the Danish countryside. While the presence of Ukrainian trainees, as well as trainees from Eastern Europe, in Denmark has provoked a great deal of negative press emphasizing exploitative aspects of this arrangement, the range of opportunities and new alliances it has created for the apprentices themselves has often been overlooked.

This paper suggests that 'uncertainty of outcome' characterizes this educational migration all the way through. Training experiences depend not only on individual abilities, but also on the nature of the actual relations established with farmers and the host society more generally. The process of learning thus presupposes the mastering of particular practical skills and navigation in a culturally and linguistically alien environment, the latter includes both the Danish hosts and young migrants from the former socialist block. Where for some a training trip to Denmark is just a one-off visit, for others, especially women, it becomes a prelude to setting up a family in Denmark, and for yet others, it is a first stepping stone for future serial migration and visitations. What is shared is a cultivation of the new sense of belonging to the European and/or former post-Soviet space under conditions of 'chronic uncertainty'.

The periodicities and serendipities of educational migration

Author: Vered Amit (Concordia University)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

This paper will draw on two studies of transnational mobility among young Canadians to consider the improvisations and unintended consequences that may attend educational migration.

Long Abstract

Educational migration highlights the blurred boundaries and overlaps between different forms of movement, statuses and life phases. An extended stay abroad for the purposes of study may overlap, more or less predictably, with tourism, family visits, work or settlement. A study of educational migration can thus be framed within the emerging field of mobility studies, which explores the convergences as well as distinctions between different forms of movement. This paper will make use of cases from two studies I have conducted of cross border mobility among young Canadians. The first study, which focused on international university exchanges considers the overlap of this kind of travel with longer term sojourns, tourism and settlement. The second study considers the interaction between inherited dual citizenship and mobility, including educational migration. This paper will draw on both studies to consider the improvisations and unintended consequences that may attend educational migration.

Two years and you are out: Insecure futures and ambiguous family relations among Filipinos in the educational "cultural exchange" au pair program in Denmark

Author: Karina Dalgas (University of Copenhagen)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

The au pair program is intended to be a limited term educational, cultural exchange program. Focusing on learning processes, the paper explores how Philippine au pairs cope with insecurities concerning their future possibilities, as they balance between family obligations and personal aspirations.

Long Abstract

Originally intended to be a cultural exchange program for young adults, au pairing officially has the educational purpose of broadening youths' cultural horizon. Most au pairs in Denmark today, however, are Filipina who, though required to leave Denmark when their two-year contracts expire, generally view their au pair stay as part of a long-term migration strategy that will enable them to support their family in the Philippines and pursue individual aspirations for a better livelihood. It is a race against time for the au pairs to create a future for themselves as immigrants in Europe within the two-year stay allowed by the Danish au pair program. Rather than experiencing cultural immersion in Danish culture by living with a Danish family, many au pairs therefore concentrate on learning how to become successful migrants in Europe. Their strategies include taking language and first aid courses to improve their qualifications as migrant care workers, or enrolling in an educational institution or marrying a Danish spouse in order to qualify for more long-term visas. This paper explores the learning processes the au pairs undergo as they attempt to become successful migrants. It argues that because of their insecure futures they end up grasping at various opportunities to stay abroad rather than pursuing educational goals. This must be seen in the light of Filipino understandings linking success with residence in a Western country as well as the Danish families' exploitation of the au pair program to obtain low-cost, live-in domestic labor.

Chinese migration stories

Author: Barbara Rieger (University of Vienna)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

In my paper I will discuss migration from China to Austria and Germany by presenting case studies from my fieldwork in Vienna and Shanghai. I will show that education ambitions play an essential role in the migration strategies of young well-educated Chinese people.

Long Abstract

Since 1978 it has become easier for Chinese people to go abroad. Meanwhile Chinese students have become a relevant group in the countries of the global north.

I want to address this phenomenon from the perspective of individuals who migrated from China to Austria and Germany. I will draw on interviews with young Chinese migrants in Vienna as well as on my fieldwork in Shanghai and present sample case studies of Chinese migration stories.

My data has shown that education ambitions were an essential reason for migrating as well as for the ways the migrants organized their livelihood in the new location.

From early age on Chinese children are confronted with high competition and a high pressure to perform. Whereas a foreign diploma and foreign language skills don't guarantee a good job position in China anymore, they are still seen as a major factor of employability on the labour market in the growing Chinese economy.

Temporary migration for educational purposes is a major chance for young people to go abroad and normally supported by parents and universities.

During their stay the young migrants gain university education and reach a high level of German language skills. Usually it is their first stay abroad and a moment of "coming of age". Whereas for some it is just a short episode, for others it could lead to long-lasting changes of values and life plans. It might result in conflicts with the family and the young migrants in an uncertain position in-between.

(Re)learning Ladakhi culture: negotiation of culture and religion among "educational refugees" in the Indian knowledge economy

Author: Elizabeth Williams-Oerberg (Aarhus University)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

This paper attempts to illuminate the ambiguous experience of Ladakhi educational migrants arguing that the proliferation of Higher Education among Ladakhis is accompanied by important changes in the transmission and reproduction of Ladakhi culture and religion.

Long Abstract

Due to improved primary and secondary educational standards and a lack of higher educational facilities in Ladakh, many young Ladakhis consider themselves as "educational refugees"- forced to migrate from the high altitude Himalayan terrain of Ladakh to the dizzying cosmopolitan centers of the Indian plains in order to realize the modern higher education dream. Ladakhi youth studying "abroad" in India, while being viewed as "foreign" by their compatriot peers, forces a re-examination of identification and belonging in these new urban environments. Ladakhi student migrants must navigate the precarious situation of pursuing a "modern" education, while at the same time avoiding the perceived moral pitfalls of such an endeavour. Ambiguity rests among the older generations who invest heavily in the increased social capital gained from the university degree (hopefully also increased economic capital). They simultaneously fear an apparent threat to traditional Ladakhi culture and identity, illustrated by the widespread cosmopolitan practices adopted by the youth, including so-called "social evils". Attempts have been made by religious, political and youth leaders alike to promulgate a "moral" education and preserve what is considered traditional Ladakhi culture and identity, inextricably intertwined with Buddhist practices and beliefs. What this paper reveals is an innovative assimilation of ideas and practices including the integral use of new social media among Ladakhi student migrants which integrates the moral with the modern, the local with the global, and the autochthonous with the cosmopolitan.

Polish migrant adolescents in Scottish schools: conflicted identity and family capital

Author: Marta Moskal (University of Glasgow)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

Moving from one culture is a challenging experience for international migrant workers and their families. The paper focuses on Polish adolescent schooling and integration experiences in Scotland. The interviews collected from children and parents help generate a complete picture of the family choices and decisions concerning education and future.

Long Abstract

The paper examines identity formation among first generation of Polish adolescent educating in Scotland. It explores the practices and narratives of Polish youth migrants and their parents in Scotland, drawing on ethnographic research, including interviews surrounding international relocation, as well as participant-observation within homes and schools. On the one hand, it looks at the family support and young people social and cultural capitals. The paper studies educational and school aspiration of the young migrants and their families. Children usually integrate to the new culture more rapidly than their immigrant parents and frequently have different view on their future. The paper looks at the intergenerational tensions and conflict between migrant parents and their teenage children and the role of children schooling. On the second hand, it explores the feeling of belongingness among young migrants: How the individual value the culture of origin? Is he/she drawn to the new culture (or cultures)? Does he/she feel welcome and incorporated into the new culture (or cultures)? Does he/she wish to be incorporated into the new culture or does he/she find it alienating? Finally, it asks about young migrant transnational identity and linkages, expectation for their future and choice of a place to live.

Where should children go? Parental educational strategies among Roma migrants in Northern Italy.

Authors: Chiara Manzoni (Università di Milano Bicocca)  email
Alice Sophie Sarcinelli (Université de Liège)  email
Mail All Authors

Short Abstract

Based on data coming from two separated ethnographical researches, this paper analyzes educational choices undertaken by Rumanian Roma parents, living in Italian illegal camp. We will illustrate meanings and purposes, as well as hopes and ambitions linked to children’s schooling.

Long Abstract

Since the 1990s, major political and economical transformations are modifying the distribution of Roma population within Europe. In particular, many Romanian Roma chose to migrate to Western European countries, or to adopt transnational trajectories, hoping to improve their living conditions. However, several families who moved to Italy are living in illegal camps, constantly evicted and in very bad conditions. In this context, they may take different strategies into account, such as moving with their children or not. Moreover, another option is to enroll their children in the Italian educational system or not.

Having children enrolled into Italian schools results into a strong impact on their families' everyday life. In fact, such families are far better included and tolerated by resident population and have bigger chances to receive support from institutions, associations or NGOs.

This paper analyzes educational choices undertaken by parents, as well as their expectations from the Italian education system. As a matter of fact, the choice of enrolling their children into school might have several meanings and purposes, such as finding a way to leave the Roma camp and seek a better accommodation. We will then analyze different educational strategies and the social mobility that may result from such strategies. To do so, we will illustrate hopes and ambitions linked to children's schooling. Our argument is based on data collected by two separate ethnographic studies both conducted in Northern Italy as part of our PhD program, one in the field of social anthropology and the other in sociology.

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.