Dr. Ayla Bonfiglio

Student Migrant, Refugee or Both? Exploring Refugee Agency and Mobility through Tertiary Education in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda

Year: 2020

Ronald Skeldon & Roger Zetter


Tertiary education institutions in resettlement and asylum countries across the world are asking what role can and should they play in responding to today’s forced displacement crises. Exploring and better understanding opportunities within higher education to provide pathways to protection should be a priority. We know from studies on education migration that education is a key driver of movement in most societies. We also know that refugees perceive higher education as crucial to rebuilding their lives in host countries. Therefore, this research set out to understand: if a person’s higher education was interrupted, prevented, or simply not possible in his or her home country because of conflict, crisis, or persecution, how might the prospect of higher education elsewhere play a role in that person’s decision-making about where and how to seek asylum? Examining the journeys of Congolese and Somali refugees and migrants, this study finds that higher education impacts how refugees and migrants planned the timing of their exits from origin countries, their choice of destination, and the legal or irregular channels they used to enter and settle in destination countries.

Selected publications by Ayla Bonfiglio