Great Expectations: African Youth from Refugee Backgrounds and the Transition to University

  • Svetlana M. King
  • Laurence Owens


Engagement in post-compulsory education is a means by which resettled refugees can gain social and economic mobility. Given the importance of education in shaping the futures of both individuals and societies, understanding the challenges facing students from refugee backgrounds and those involved in their education constitutes an important area of research. While such issues have received attention in primary and secondary school contexts, very little research has addressed these issues in higher education. This chapter examines the educational experiences and challenges associated with the transition to university for African youth from refugee backgrounds. It presents the perspectives of educators, social service providers, African students and African community leaders who participated in a qualitative investigation of the education and career pathways of African youth from refugee backgrounds. The chapter invites academics to reflect upon their experiences and challenges in teaching these students and to consider their own professional development needs with a view to better supporting these students. Recommendations are offered in an effort to identify key areas of support for academics and students in higher education.


Refugee youth Educational challenges Transition African refugees 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Prideaux Centre for Research in Health Professions EducationFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.College of Education, Psychology and Social WorkFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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