Recent refugee arrivals in Australia are overwhelmingly young, with 45,900 of the 54,824 humanitarian visa entrants between 2002 and 2007 aged between sixteen and thirty years of age. At the critical transition of entering adult life, these young people experience a massive relocation shock and challenges to identity. Many have experienced extreme trauma and are making this transition without close family. As one Sudanese student commented, "I have to be my own mother and father". Tertiary education is a vital pathway for establishing the future of these young people. This article tells the story of one refugee student who has overcome enormous challenges to succeed in engaging both academically and with the university community. Drawn from a series of interviews of African students undertaken in 2011, this student provides rich evidence of the challenges faced and the factors that facilitate success in a tertiary setting. He is a gifted storyteller and the opportunity to tell his story through a student ambassador program has been a protective factor that has provided him with a powerful identity resource. A thematic and linguistic analysis is offered. This analysis provides insights into the needs of African students and some ways in which universities can meet those needs.

Publisher: The Australasian Review of African Studies

Region: Australia

Type: Article

CITATION

2014, 'I have to be my own mother and father': the African Student Experience at University, a Case Study Using Narrative Analysis. Lawson, L. The Australasian Review of African Studies, Vol.35, No.1, pp. 59-75, June 2014.

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'I have to be my own mother and father': the African student experience at University, a case study using narrative analysis
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'I have to be my own mother and father': the African student experience at University, a case study using narrative analysis