Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

Sub-Department

Educational Administration

First Advisor

Doyle Stevick

Abstract

Migrant students from Muslim backgrounds constitute a minority in Armenia, France and Germany. This study, conducted in 2014, explored the influence of higher education on the civic and social integration of migrant students from Muslim backgrounds into French, German and Armenian societies. The present research sought to understand whether and how the social and religious identities of migrant students from Muslim backgrounds changed while trying to integrate into the society of their respective European host countries. Qualitative, semi-structured interviews with nine migrant student-participants from Muslim backgrounds and post-interview reflections on responses written by student participants were the main methods of data collection for this study. The results of the study revealed that migrant students from Muslim backgrounds noticed changes in their social and religious identities. Some of the interviewed students paid attention on their appearance and tended to look like their European peers; others spoke only the language of their host country and tried to make friends mostly with Europeans. Moreover, some students did not follow their religious traditions and rituals because they thought that religious practice could hinder their integration. Despite their willingness to integrate, there were still some students among interviewed participants who were trying to preserve various aspects of cultures and traditions of their home country. vi Further, The narratives of student-participants revealed that they faced problems on their path towards integration, which according to them could be solved, if the higher educational policy tackled in more depth the following important aspects: creation of interactive student clubs; incorporation of culture related subjects into the curriculum; having professors from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds; participation of all students in decision making processes; introducing need based scholarships.

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