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Bridges to Studying: Educational Migration in the Scope of Political Transformation in Post Covid 19 Pandemic in Europe1 Мосты к обучению: образовательная миграция в контексте политической трансформации в период после пандемии Covid 19 в Европе

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Recently, Europe is witnessing a transformation in the political system, concerning right-wing populist movements, around the claim that a massive influx of migrants within its territorial borders undermines the sovereignty of the nation-state. This transformation has led to issues of economic inequalities, loss of cultural identity, and influence in voting patterns. Considering the unfolding situations, we ask: What is the effect of educational migration on economic growth and social development before, during, and after the Covid-19 pandemic? How will the current political transformation processes affect educational migrants in the post-Covid-19 pandemic in Europe? Using the systematic review methodology, the authors sort to perform a comprehensive literature search; complete a critical appraisal of the individual studies gathered; and combine the valid studies using appropriate statistical techniques. The research affirmed a case that Education could not ignore politics. We perceive it will shape populist motives on educational migrants in post-pandemic Europe. The authors expectation of future research pays attention to the political transformation process and how anti-immigration discourse will exercise control over educational institutions.
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RUDN Journal of Political Science 2021 Vol. 23 No. 1 141–158
Вестник РУДН. Серия: ПОЛИТОЛОГИЯ http://journals.rudn.ru/politicalscience
YOUTH: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CAPITAL 141
DOI: 10.22363/2313-1438-2021-23-1-141-158
Review article / Обзорная статья
Bridges to Studying: Educational Migration
in the Scope of Political Transformation
in Post Covid19 Pandemic in Europe1
G.O. Abrokwa1, E. Donkor2
1 RUDN University, Moscow, Russian Federation
2 Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Abstract. Recently, Europe is witnessing a transformation in the political system, concerning
right-wing populist movements, around the claim that a massive influx of migrants within its
territorial borders undermines the sovereignty of the nation-state. This transformation has led to
issues of economic inequalities, loss of cultural identity, and influence in voting patterns.
Considering the unfolding situations, we ask: What is the effect of educational migration on
economic growth and social development before, during, and after the Covid-19 pandemic? How
will the current political transformation processes affect educational migrants in the post-Covid-19
pandemic in Europe? Using the systematic review methodology, the authors sort to perform a
comprehensive literature search; complete a critical appraisal of the individual studies gathered; and
combine the valid studies using appropriate statistical techniques. The research affirmed a case that
Education could not ignore politics. We perceive it will shape populist motives on educational
migrants in post-pandemic Europe. The author’s expectation of future research pays attention to the
political transformation process and how anti-immigration discourse will exercise control over
educational institutions.
Keywords: migration, educational migrants, political transformation, Covid-19, globalisation,
populist parties
For citation: Abrokwa, G.O., & Donkor, E. (2021). Bridges to studying: Educational migration in
the scope of political transformation in post Covid-19 pandemic in Europe. RUDN Journal of
Political Science, 23(1), 141–158. DOI: 10.22363/2313-1438-2021-23-1-141-158
© Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E., 2021
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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Аброква Г.О., Донкор Э. Вестник РУДН. Серия: Политология. 2021. Т. 23. 1. С. 141–158
142 МОЛОДЕЖЬ: СОЦИАЛЬНЫЙ И ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИЙ КАПИТАЛ
Мосты к обучению: образовательная миграция
в контексте политической трансформации
в период после пандемии Covid19 в Европе
Г.О. Аброква1, Э. Донкор2
1 Российский университет дружбы народов, Москва, Российская Федерация
2 Карлов Университет, Прага, Чехия
Аннотация. В последнее время в Европе происходит трансформация политической си-
стемы, связанная с правыми популистскими движениями, дискурс которых сосредоточен на
идее, что массовый приток мигрантов в европейский ареал подрывает суверенитет националь-
ного государства. Эта трансформация привела к проблемам экономического неравенства,
утрате культурной идентичности и изменению электоральных моделей. В статье ставятся сле-
дующие исследовательские вопросы: каково влияние образовательной миграции на экономи-
ческий рост и социальное развитие до, во время и после пандемии Covid-19? Как актуальные
политические процессы повлияют на поведение образовательных мигрантов в период после
пандемии Covid-19 в Европе? Проводится систематический обзор литературы на основе крити-
ческой оценки, его выводы сопоставляются с валидными исследованиями с использованием
статистических методов. Исследование подтвердило исследовательскую гипотезу, что образо-
вание не может развиваться в отрыве от актуальных политических процессов.
Ключевые слова: миграция, образовательные мигранты, политическая трансформация,
Covid-19, глобализация, популистские партии
Для цитирования: Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E. Bridges to studying: Educational migration in
the scope of political transformation in post Covid-19 pandemic in Europe // Вестник Российского
университета дружбы народов. Серия: Политология. 2021. Т. 23. 1. С. 141–158.
DOI: 10.22363/2313-1438-2021-23-1-141-158
Introduction
Migration, processes of political transformations and the novel coronavirus
pandemic are seen to be double-edged swords that affect all sectors of the economy,
geographical classifications, and some fundamentals of human existence. The
transformation in the political process has been charged by anti-immigration socio-
political mobilisation equating it to the perception of native culture and norms being
hampered in the present and future years. Amidst all the numerous publications on
migration, political transformation and the current pandemic, an unequal weight has
been given to some basics of these global drivers in a categorical context. It is with
this intuition that the authors seek to address objectively, some bridges to studying,
taking into consideration a contextualised theme under Youth and Politics in
Europe. The general objective of this reviewed article is on Educational Migration
in the Scope of Political Transformation in Post Covid-19 Pandemic in Europe.
Also, the article seek to review how the processes of political transformation in
Europe affect the trend and factors of migration by education as well as socio-
economic growth? To achieve this, reviewing relevant pieces of literature,
Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E. RUDN Journal of Political Science, 2021, 23(1), 141–158
YOUTH: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CAPITAL 143
understanding the breadth and depth of the current body of work, and identifying
gaps to inform further research was considered. This methodology was used
because it is a comprehensive and thoroughly searched across different data-sources
and grey areas that can be repeatedly explored and reproduced by other researchers.
Inferring from this, literature inclusion criterion was based on systematic literature
review principles which include coverage, focus, integration, validity, reliability,
and repeatable or how the method is applicable universally. Significantly, the
authors gave attention to abstract and findings of literature during the screening
inclusion stage, and they short-listed the literature to ninety-seven publications
based on the thematic questions the authors seek to address and the reliability
concerning the replication of method. Four publications were excluded because it
was not written in English. Concerning the questions above as well as keywords
used at the literature and screening inclusion stage, full-text of pieces of literature
were identified from databases with publication date limit set between 1997 and
2020. The authors then extracted some quantitative data from Eurostat, OECD and
UNESCO based on the key areas of the question that the authors wanted to explore.
These extracted data were analysed and interpreted by the authors with the
assumption that the reliability of the extracted data informed the research’s output.
The findings had a different view from the right-wing parties’ assertions on
migration and it stressed on how policies on migration could affect the trends of
educational migrants as well as the factors of migration by education and the
economy in Post Covid-19 Pandemic in Europe. In the first section of this article,
the authors addressed categorical issues on educational migrants trend,
comprehensive factors for migration by education using infographics, as well as
educational migrants effect on economic growth (considering before, during and
post-Covid-19 pandemic) and social development. The effect of globalisation on
migration and processes of transformation was also looked at in the second section
of this article from a broader perspective of migration and politics and
recommendations were given where necessary to inform future policies and
scholarly works.
Educational migrants’ contributions to economic growth
and social development
Migration and migrants are defined technically in context, concepts and
categories informed by geographic, political, legal, methodological, duration and
other factors. In ascertaining the measurement of migration, four main
categorisations were considered, including place of residence, place of birth,
citizenship, and duration of stay1. Immigrants in the classical immigration countries
(Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA), were mainly based on the criterion
of citizenship. In contrast, immigration data for European countries is based
1 International Organisation for Migration (2020). World Migration Report. Retrieved from
https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/wmr_2020.pdf
Аброква Г.О., Донкор Э. Вестник РУДН. Серия: Политология. 2021. Т. 23. 1. С. 141–158
144 МОЛОДЕЖЬ: СОЦИАЛЬНЫЙ И ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИЙ КАПИТАЛ
primarily on the criterion of the place of residence and place of birth [Haas et al.
2014]. Pieces of literature were considered based on the definition for the first and
second generation of educational migrants [Wirén 2013] as the unit of analysis.
The growth in educational migrants’ numbers is part of a broader
‘transnationalization of education’ achieved through a range of factors including
globalisation, advancement in technology, pedagogical upgrade, among others.
Amidst conducted reviews is ‘Evidence on education as a driver for migration’
journal2 with particular attention to Tertiary education and International migration
where Browne stressed on some factors that influence educational migration. It is in
this light that the paper seeks to update the comprehensiveness of the stated factors in
the journal with a pictorial representation (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1
The trend of migration by education in some EU member states
Source: Authors’ own construct (an update of Browne, E. Evidence on Education as a Driver for
Migration. K4D Helpdesk Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies).
URL: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/598086a0ed915d022b00003c/K4D_HDR__Migr
ation_and_Education.pdf. (accessed: 09.11.2020)
Substantially, recent years have recorded an increase in the volume of
educational migrants worldwide. These numbers have been rising, almost quartet
faster than total international migration confirming the assertion that lower
2 Browne, Evie (2017). Evidence on Education as a Driver for Migration. K4D Helpdesk Report.
Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.ser-
vice.gov.uk/media/598086a0ed915d022b00003c/K4D_HDR__Migration_and_Education.pdf
Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E. RUDN Journal of Political Science, 2021, 23(1), 141–158
YOUTH: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CAPITAL 145
education means fewer options for legal migration3. Figure 2, shows the ‘trend of
this volume’4 in some selected countries.
Fig. 2
Migration by Education
Source: Authors’ own construct. OECD/Eurostat (2020). URL: https://read.oecd ilibrary.org/
education/education!at!a!glance!2020_974729f4!en#page4 (accessed: 15.11.2020).
From Figure 2, Spain, France and Portugal had a significant and exponential
increase of educational migrants from 2015–2019 which is consistent with the total
inflow of educational migrants into EU-27 countries. Germany and Italy recorded
a decline of 3,933 and 1,775 respectively from 2018 to 2019 whiles Norway
recorded slightly steady growth from 2017 to 2019. The European Union is a critical
geographical area with some of the countries seen as destinations for significant
migration by education. In 2018 educational migrant recorded was 1.7 million from
23 OECD countries that are also members of the EU (EU-23)5. To be able to
understand the weight of educational migrants, the total number of annual inflows
were also considered for some selected countries.
In Figure 3 above, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary and Austria6 was part of
countries studied. Interestingly, these countries had 0.06%, 2.46%, 14.34% and
3 International Organisation for Migration (2008). World Migration. IOM, Geneva. Retrieved from
https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/wmr_2020.pdf
4 See: Statistics | Eurostat (2020). Retrieved November 15, 2020, from https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/
databrowser/view/migr_resfirst/default/table?lang=en. Figure 1 was sourced from the link attached and
the graph was constructed by the author. These trajectories clearly show how countries differ in volume
and the percentage at educational migrants increased. This to some extent suggests that countries may
have differential approaches and complementing policies as far as educational migrants are concerned.
5 European Commission (EC). (2010). Europe 2020: A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive
growth. Working paper. Retrieved November 15, 2020, from https://www.eea.europa.eu/policy-
documents/com-2010-2020-europe-2020
6 See: Retrieved November 15, 2020, from https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-
glance-2020_974729f4-en#page4
Аброква Г.О., Донкор Э. Вестник РУДН. Серия: Политология. 2021. Т. 23. 1. С. 141–158
146 МОЛОДЕЖЬ: СОЦИАЛЬНЫЙ И ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИЙ КАПИТАЛ
1.30% respectively as a percentage change of migration by education from 2018 to
2019, leaving us with the question of how significant is the influence of educational
migrant’s culture on the culture(s) of the countries mentioned above or what
brought about these changes? These questions were answered by the authors using
the simulation of an enclave-assimilation theory and policies on how educational
migrants gradually adapt to their new environment.
Fig. 3
Share of Migration by Education and Total Number of Immigrants
Source: Authors’ own construct. OECD/Eurostat (2020). URL: https://read.oecd ilibrary.org/
education/education!at!a!glance!2020_974729f4!en#page4 (accessed: 15.11.2020).
In order to understand how the enclave-assimilation theory was applied, the
authors looked at the spread of educational migrants by regions of origin [OECD
2020]7 since the authors assumed that the degree of enclave and assimilation
perhaps could be affected by the heterogeneous characteristics of areas. Follow the
link in the footnote to better understand a different perspective the authors looked
at the Distribution of international and foreign students by region of region graph8
(page 232) from OECD’s education at a glance report (2020).
These countries recorded 12%, 31%, 9% and 24% respectively as a share of educational migrants
from the volume or the total number of immigrants recorded in 2019 (by Author’s construct from
migr_resfirst- Eurostat’s online data).
According to European Migration Network (2019), the highest number of educational migrants coming
to the EU in 2017 was from China – consisting almost a quarter of all first study permits (118 830
permits) – followed by the United States (33 000 permits) and India (32 317 permits). The top countries
of origin for international students in the EU include Ukraine (16 248 permits), Morocco (13 472
permits), South Korea (11 358 permits), Brazil (10 414 permits) and Turkey (9 941 permits).
7 See: Retrieved November 15, 2020, from https://read.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/education-at-a-
glance-2020_69096873-en#page232
8 See: Retrieved November 15, 2020, from https://asset.keepeek-cache.com/medias/domain21/_pdf/
media5256/801171-rr3m0fe9h3/large/231.jpg
Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E. RUDN Journal of Political Science, 2021, 23(1), 141–158
YOUTH: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CAPITAL 147
From authors’ analytical glance, the distribution shows how educational
migrants are assimilated into some destination countries in Europe (such as
Czechia, Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Latvia). For instance, there
are diverse cultures in all the regions identified but particular attention were given
to educational migrants coming from Asia, Europe and Africa. This is evident on
how international students from these three major regions easily adapt to new
environment because of their experience to cultural heterogeneity in their home
countries. This study looked at the theory of assimilation concerning immigration
in general, and it was narrowed to the context of Europe and categorically to
educational migrants using ‘Rethinking Assimilation Theory for a New Era of
Immigration’ journal by [Alba, Nee 1997a]9 as a guide.
Some of the hypothesis the authors considered from [Alba et al. 1997b] work
include (1) lower duration of educational migrant’s socio-cultural and political
enclave, (2) slower pace to assimilate educational migrants into host countries, and
(3) second generational migrants and natives with a migration background will have
the fastest transition and less/no available assimilation [consistent with the findings
of Alba and Nee 1997] in the context of the proposed theory10. Based on the student
Directive 2004/114/EC, diversified approaches have evolved to assimilate and aid
in the selection of educational migrants which in turn led to different modules on
how higher education systems recruit and integrate skilled foreign students into the
local and national economy. Compensation strategies and enhanced revenue
coming from abroad were some of the economic benefits associated with
international students. Again, regional or national schemes were centred on
attracting the ‘brightest and the best’ [MacGregor 2013; Rostovskaya et al. 2020].
Parallel to this, educational migrants come from a spread of geographical locations
or origins and to achieve country-specific policies on education, English language
is being used as a common language for tuition.
Conversely, Hungary and Latvia had no national policy on educational
migrants. With Hungary, only an action plan has been formulated, and this is
tailored to strengthening the education of ethnic Hungarians standards of living
outside the territory of Hungary. The absence of a national policy on educational
migrants to an extent explains the negative values of its percentage change from
2018 to 2019.
9 See: Rethinking Assimilation Theory for a New Era of Immigration on JSTOR. Retrieved November
15, 2020, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/2547416?seq=1
10 Globalisation to an extent has suggested a global identity in theory (see [Arnett, 2002]) so if the
third assumption holds, then there’s the likelihood for some degree of convergence from the
perspective of solidarity. As stated, this calls for further studies.
Аброква Г.О., Донкор Э. Вестник РУДН. Серия: Политология. 2021. Т. 23. 1. С. 141–158
148 МОЛОДЕЖЬ: СОЦИАЛЬНЫЙ И ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИЙ КАПИТАЛ
Educational migrants and economic growth
Educational migrants’ effect on economic growth
before the Covid!19 pandemic
Economic growth and gains emanating from migration by education have been
analysed by some scholars using the balance of payment analogy11. According to
[Bergerhoff et al. 2013] the proportion of educational migrant’s inflow is likely to
remain in the host country, and when this happens, it changes the trajectories of the
labour force as well as the human capital in a given country and consequently leads
to interesting growth effects.
On the one hand, migration by education from host countries point of view
again may be an essential source of income and have a disproportionate impact on
their economic and innovation systems. For instance, educational migrants
contribute to the local economy through their living expenses (in the longer run) as
well as innovation through practical and strategic integration into domestic labour
markets. From countries of the origin point of view, on the other hand, educational
migrants can contribute to knowledge (both tacit and experiential) absorption,
technology progress and capacity building in their respective origins. This only
happens when they return home after their studies or hold up a strong rapport with
nationals at home, integrated into their areas of expertise and act as a magnet for
diasporic investment [Marginson 2006].
According to [Chellaraj et al. 2008] educational migrants significantly
contributes positively to government’s budgets through highly paid taxes since
there is a robust linear relationship between educational attainment and income and
are apt to receive fewer government benefits than lesseducated residents.
On the contrary, there is also an empirical finding of a negative net brain effect
in transitional countries in a sense where many educated emigrants from third-
countries or transitional countries end up in employment sectors classified as
unskilled in the developed economies [Chiswick and Miller 2009]. The trickle-
down effect is that the origin country’s human capital stock decreases with a
diminishing incentive for future investment as far as migration by education is
concerned.
Migration by education effect on economic growth
during Covid!19 pandemic
More than 3.9 million international or foreign students studying in OECD
countries were potentially affected due to the decree made by governments to
(temporarily) close-down higher education institutions as a measure for controlling
11 Bashir, S. (2007). The trends in international trade in higher education: Implications and options
for developing countries. Washington, DC: World Bank. World Bank Education Working Paper
Series no. 6. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/
828431468762899837/Trends-in-international-trade-in-higher-education-implications-and-options-
for-developing-countries
Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E. RUDN Journal of Political Science, 2021, 23(1), 141–158
YOUTH: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CAPITAL 149
the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic12. The crisis has impacted the ability of
educational migrants who self-finance themselves during their studies since many
are often dependent on student jobs. The global effect of this pandemic on the
ability of a student’s family in the country of origin to support their wards may also
have experienced a negative impact. Therefore, this to some extent increases the
financial burden of governments (from both origin and destination countries) in
ensuring the wellbeing of students to the degree of the country’s capacity13.
Conversely, France has established an annual legal working duration to increase
full-time equivalent from 60 to 80 % for foreign students legally and currently living
in France as of 16th March 2020 until the re-opening face-to-face studies.
Migration by education effect on economic growth
at post!Covid!19 pandemic
To ensure the continuity of education despite the lock-down, higher education
institutions have sought to use technology and offer virtual/online classes and
learning experiences as a substitute for in-class time. Beyond the transactional
learning experience, students are also losing out on other benefits of international
mobility such as international exposure, access to a foreign job market, and
networking14. With an emphasis on the widely accepted digitalised way of learning,
the authors assumed that most third-countries or transitioning countries would
strengthen their policies to make domestic education more attractive, advanced,
resourced, and effective. These can convert some potentials to outputs in full
capacity, which tend to enhance economies of scale [Ionescu, Polgreen 2009].
When these happen, human migration by education will reduce holding some
factors constant whiles migration of digitalised knowledge increases. With a second
scenario, the post-Covid-19 will call for more attractive (on a precondition that a
vaccine is found) policies and higher economic incentives by the developed
economies to pull innovative minded and skilled educational migrants at all levels
from the developing countries. This incentive, to some extent, will intensify ‘the
competitive war for human capital’ in the long run. Based on this, the authors
assumed that the repercussion of these anticipated pull-policies might lead to a more
extended stay of educational migrants in host countries. This intervention would
tend to reduce the number of returnees, and in a way, promote the likelihood of
unequal compensations through remittances. There will be a deficit in the labour
market since some of the revision of countries immigration policies was to attract
12 UNESCO (2020). COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response. UNESCO website.
Retrieved October 29, 2020, from https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse
13 EMN/OECD (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on international students in the EU and the OECD Member
States – EMN-OECD Inform. Brussels: European Migration Network. Retrieved November 17, 2020,
from https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/00_eu_inform2_students_final_en.pdf
14 OECD (2020). “What is the profile of internationally mobile students?” In Education at a
Glance 2020: OECD Indicators. OECD Publishing, Paris. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from
https://doi.org/10.1787/974729f4-en
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skilled migrants to contribute to innovation, production and complement the
working class of the population pyramid15. Again, a decrease in the share of
educational migrants may have austere repercussions on the funding model of some
advanced level of education institutions. The reason is that foreign students often
pay higher tuition fees than domestic ones as the case of Czechia, Austria, Sweden,
the Netherlands, Hungary, France, and Norway16.
Educational migrants and social development
In simultaneity with the cognitive process of globalisation, the generic trend
towards more freely circulating goods, services, and capital together with more
open labour markets, has encouraged increased trade in educational provision
[Adnett 2010]. The authors, therefore, looked at how migration by education had
affected social development before the Covid-19 pandemic since there was
insufficient literature categorically on social development and migration by
education during and post-covid-19 pandemic. As argued by [Mechtenberg, Strausz
2008], internationalisation could also boost the productivity of the economy due to
the cultural experience that students obtain in foreign education. Parallel to this
[Trooboff et al. 2007] posit that enterprises with an estimated international
experience of less than 25 % of sales abroad see international education as of less
importance. Still, on the contrary, multinational companies even explicitly prefer
international students based on diversity and multicultural value offering. This
heterogeneity means that schooling abroad also increases cultural intelligence,
experiences, and language competencies as evident in a survey of EU students
studying in the United Kingdom [West 2000]. The subjective confidence and
structural control parameters of international studies have both direct and indirect
effect on social development. This effect assumed that the degree of one’s attitude
to pursue foreign studies, informs their planned behaviour, intentions, and studies
outcome [Petzold, Peter 2015]. In this view, the next section of this paper considers
both the geographical and the contextual impacts emanating from political
transformation.
Political transformation in Europe
Across the globe, transitions in countries are made to improve the economic
system where politics would be restricted. Notwithstanding, political reasons have
been pivotal from the early stages and for subsequent development.
Recently, the migration trend across Europe has been characterised by a large
number of people, mainly asylum seekers, refugees, job migrants and students. This
15 OECD (2019). Benchmarking Higher Education System Performance. Higher Education,
Publishing, Paris. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/be5514d7-en
16 OECD (2020). “What is the profile of internationally mobile students?” In Education at a Glance
2020: OECD Indicators. OECD Publishing, Paris. Retrieved November 17, 2020, from
https://doi.org/10.1787/974729f4-en
Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E. RUDN Journal of Political Science, 2021, 23(1), 141–158
YOUTH: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CAPITAL 151
situation has attracted opposing views and sentiments towards foreigners across the
region in these recent years. Evidentially, immigration is seen as a fundamental
reason for the rise of populist parties in these countries sparking a new dimension
of political transition in these wealthy and advanced democracies [Halla et al. 2017;
Kaufman 2017; Otto and Steinhardt 2014; Arzheimer 2009]. Many researchers have
argued that aspect of immigration is the key influential factor for the rise of the
transformation process across countries yet, other scholarly works have sided
differently with this notion. They argue that although immigration maybe the main
causal effect, other factors such as economic, cultural and other social dimensions
linked with migration provides a strong basis on which these populist movements
takes it roots for political agenda [Shehaj et al. 2019; Arzheimer 2009].
In this section, the authors examine several key indicators which have influenced
the political transformation in the modern politics of Europe.
Immigration and rightwing parties
Across Europe, immigration is seen, as the significant influence of the rise of
populist movements [Brubaker 2020; Shejaj et al. 2019; Dennison, Geddes 2019;
Swain 2019; Grindheim 2019]. The recent transformation in the political process has
been charged by an anti-immigration socio-political mobilisation equating it to the
perception of native culture and norm being hampered in the present and future years.
According to [Swain 2019], the projected influence against migrants brings negative
sentiment has breed nationalism among host societies. Perhaps, party leaders try to
avoid racial discrimination but rather push forward the phrase nativism. Well,
notwithstanding how it is paraphrased, this use of native culture ideology has brought
problems on integration in different countries. The [IOM 2020]17 report stated that
the effort made for the acceptance and willingness of governments to cooperate
among themselves and improve international migration has a considerable
uncertainty about interconnectivity due to instability, demographic changes, climate
altercations, political changes and decline in bilateral relations.
Presently, anti-immigration political mobilisation has taken the forefront, and
populist parties and nationalistic agendas are rising rapidly throughout Europe.
Most Populist Party leadership have used immigration as a tool to channel their
message across board influencing voting patterns [Dennison, Geddes 2019],
explained that most right-leaning populist parties in Europe possess similar
characteristics in their political discourse. They criticise societal elites, particularly,
on what they see as an integrated and anti-popular political elite; representation
claims of ‘the people’ versus ‘the elite’; protectionist and hostile to immigration;
critical of minority politics; use rhetorical arguments which are at times
extraordinarily value-laden and biased. They most often blame someone else for
popular misery; nationally minded and willing to use nationalistic rhetoric and
17 World Migration Report 2020. (2019). ISSN: 1561–5502. Retrieved from
https://publications.iom.int/books/world-migration-report-2020
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152 МОЛОДЕЖЬ: СОЦИАЛЬНЫЙ И ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИЙ КАПИТАЛ
propaganda to win votes; and are against the European Union and their country’s
membership of the EU, C. Mudde argues18.
The populist backlash has emerged as an alarming trend shaping transformation
process across the developed world in recent years. Examining the conditions under
which immigration becomes especially important for populist parties is key to allow
us to ascertain the transformation system. Several pieces of literature have
identified and explained vividly, important factors that shape the connection
between populism and migration. The authors review these works by analysing
ways in which Populist Party’s success hinges on immigrants and host citizen’s
countries in relation to economic reasons and cultural dimension.
Economic factor
The fear and anxiety of losing one’s job coupled with the competitive nature in
the labour market was an actual condition of the elevation of populism in several
parts of Europe from 2013–2015. As argued by [Shehaj et al. 2019], the movements
of people from a lower region to a higher-class society pushes psychological
constraint on natives on the point of being pushed away from employment
opportunities. Here, inexperience and low skilled citizens in host countries get
enraged about the prospect of competition in job positions, especially in crunch
economic times [Shehaj et al. 2019; Golder 2003]. Interestingly, the grievances take
a different turn when immigrants are political mobilized. Researches done across
some part of Europe confirmed that most far-right political leaders use the basis of
economic benefits against immigration to induce mostly young voters, low-
educated and either unemployed or into manual labourer [Shehaj et al. 2019;
Arzheimer 2009; Givens 2007].
According to [Peri 2013], evidence from the analysis of capital expenditure and
savings of host members proofed that there was no reduction in wages throughout
high immigration periods, notwithstanding the growing sense of insecurity in
foreign migrants. Again, low skilled host country workers in the labour-intensive
market create high anxiety than those in high skilled labour [Shehaj et al. 2019],
examined that, in a scenario that migrants have manual labour skills, they are easily
attracted to jobs of manual nature and don’t necessarily care about wages in the
short-run, which makes it more competitive for native workers in same sectors. This
condition directly influences right-wing parties’ exploitation tactics of using
economic grievances to lure native workers and amass political support.
Cultural dimension
According to [Turner, Brown, Tajfel 1979], the theory of social identity best
explains the influence of cultural dimension with populist parties. The theoretical
perspective claimed that a group of people with a particular way of life, defined identity
18 Mudde, C. (2019). The Far Right May not Have Cleaned up, but its Influence Now Dominates
Europe. The Guardian, 28.
Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E. RUDN Journal of Political Science, 2021, 23(1), 141–158
YOUTH: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CAPITAL 153
and traits finds it more comfortable to relate with people of similar background yet
tends to differ from other sects of people with distinct identities and primarily perceive
themselves as superior [Shehaj et al. 2019; Turner, Brown, Tajfel 1979].
In recent times, the influx of migrants has stipulated critical arguments of the
disintegration of cultural identity and values among host societies. As indicated by
[Shehaj et al. 2019], large movements’ within-host territories are seen as a threat to
norms that have been held for years. This has brought enormous consequences in
the migration dilemma and the political transformation system across regions. More
often Interest groups have this course to channel personal socio-political agenda.
According to [Shehaj et al. 2019], the mere fact of fear and anger reproduces
counter-reactions where populist groups chance upon to solicit political leadership
positions. Here, right-wing parties use the idea of differences in identities to move
nationalistic agenda to take native population votes in view of helping them to
maintain their traditions. The results of this have poked issues of racial
discrimination against immigrants in different countries. Again, the right-wing
populist transition is further strengthened when they bridge the accord between
migrants and natives, with strict adherence to nativism which promotes electoral
support in communities and regional level.
Another aspect of the cultural dimension which has led to right-wing support
and pushing the transformation processes in different countries is the religious
beliefs of migrants [Bisin et al. 2011; Adida et al. 2010]. [Shehaj et al. 2019], stated
that from 2005–2015, most immigrants who came from war and ethnic conflict
communities into Europe were Muslims. They were mostly refugees from the
Middle East and have strong religious identities different from the practice in
Europe. Evidence shows that these group of people face labour market problems,
economic inequalities, and social maltreatments due to their Islamic identities. The
findings from the research showed that right-wing parties within the period
capitalized on this as a political discourse to amass support from the native populace
who perceive it as a threat to their norms and religious values. The point relates to
cultural disintegration using religious practices which are radical and oppressive.
Will populist movement in Europe
influence educational immigration?
To put it in simple terms, scholarly work of [Grindheim 2019] highlights the
idea that populist movement in Europe doesn’t strictly align to immigrant numbers
but the rhetoric of immigration which exploits pre-existing social and economic
inequalities and further creates fear and anger. There is no means we can denounce
the dynamics of immigration in this rising populist parties. Yet, it is inconclusive
to make it categorically a static medium which manifests this political ideology as
there are other important connected factors. In this section, the authors review an
important emerging force that is perceived to shape populist motives on educational
migrants in post-pandemic Europe. Although, this theme has been touched-on in
several scholarly works, its link to populism and how it can influence educational
Аброква Г.О., Донкор Э. Вестник РУДН. Серия: Политология. 2021. Т. 23. 1. С. 141–158
154 МОЛОДЕЖЬ: СОЦИАЛЬНЫЙ И ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИЙ КАПИТАЛ
migration in subsequent years has been underestimated. It is therefore imperative
to have a critical look, as a basis for further policy action.
Globalisation
In some respects, globalisation is synonymous to internationalisation. He
described globalisation as growing interconnectedness and interdependence of
people and institutions throughout the world. It shows the influence of a world-
based agenda over the local community. More comprehensive acquisition of
knowledge and skills spread from education and as well as the dynamism of culture
norms at different facets of society and its consequences of broadly available
employment opportunities constitute the largest share of the globalisation process.
Global interdependency versus populist movement
The populist movements across Europe have stated their dissatisfaction against
globalization in numerous channels categorically. Their arguments to globalisation
have always been clear as a means of the unacceptability of social inequality,
authoritarian regime, and breakdown of native culture. Right-wing parties in
Europe have debated against the legal bindings of supranational entities and their
ability to regulate systems to favour a global agenda. They are critical in preferences
of jobs which must be competed for among people, prospects for goods and services
which must be shared and even resource distribution paths. Among populist activist
in other countries, there is a notion that the regional body (European Union) put
many efforts in supporting foreign interests in trade, security, education at the
expanse of local communities [Rizvi 2019].
Interestingly, most right-wing populist seems to side with some aspects of
globalisation. Yet their dis-contention arises from the basis of the massive inflow
of immigrants across its borders which turn to fuel cultural disintegration and
economic inequality. As indicated by [Rizvi 2019], there is a sense of major threat
to their livelihood conditions such as job, political leadership, culture integration
etc. When these migrants are resettled within their premises. This new breed of the
population tends to diversify their ways of traditions and religious beliefs in the
long run.
Over the years, the populist parties have used this medium to mobilise political
power, without formalized political approach but rather inconsistent ideas
characterised by fear, emotions and panic stories to make enemies and have their
political will achieved [Rizvi 2019]. Modern populist groups have argued that
globalisation has lost its focus as it hasn’t only allowed a free flow of capital but
also people without proper assessment through borders, which has intensified
negative sentiments against refugees, migrants’ workers etc. There is an assumption
they state that livelihood conditions among member states will be reinstated when
border controls are tightened or blocked eventually. The instance of security threats
has been used against minorities from certain third countries who are tagged with
Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E. RUDN Journal of Political Science, 2021, 23(1), 141–158
YOUTH: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CAPITAL 155
different religious and ethnic beliefs. They bodily refuse the principles and
ideologies of diversity and multiculturalism that globalisation has allegedly
promoted [Rizvi 2019].
Their proposed system of globalisation as described by [Smith 2010], explains
that nations can be able to compete and align better when they are socially
disintegrated with values, cultures, traditions which gives a vivid understanding of
their personality. The point here is a clear case of Nationalism which makes a
country stuck to its core political, cultural, and economic interest at the expense of
others. Nationalism has been the pivot of these populist parties against globalisation
in recent times, and their basis for promoting this ideology is to give them territorial
powers [Smith 2010].
Educational challenges
Globalisation has been beneficial to societies across borders as it has open new
ways of life and better opportunities. Contrary to that, the interconnectedness has
sprung different form of negative sentiments, separatist agendas, and socio-political
nationalism. Education cannot ignore politics. Assessing the political dimension
that globalisation has been channelled, we seek to ask this question; Since
educational institutions across Europe are culturally diverse and transnationally
connected in recent years, what challenges do educational migrants face in post-
pandemic Europe?
Significantly, cultural diversity poses a much difficult problem for educational
institutions and international students. With the ‘new normal’, the term that is being
echoed across the globe, migrants face an issue of being accommodated into practices
of new regulations and norms. The assimilation and integration process of these
minorities into a politically dominated populist culture poses a risk to their education.
Here, the populist group will pose power of imposing various norms and practices,
different from an open society views based on curtailing future pandemic risk. The
authors firmly agree with the assertion made by [Rizvi 2019], about a politically
motivated group who won’t allow their privileges to be infringed upon in situation of
having a dominant majority power based on the similar pre-existing issue.
Furthermore, institutions will put measures to make it possible for their students
to be embedded in complex transnational systems of learning and can access
sources of educational information across borders of the nation. Diverse educational
modules and practices are now constantly being used in different levels of education
which has open the possibilities of new hybridized practices through the greater
potential for intercultural communication and education [Rizvi 2019]. Contrary, to
the above assertion, educational migrants would have to understand that a climate
of the unknown (political-induced) has emerged in many parts of the world, and
students can be asked to stay put in their home countries and study; change the
mode of study from full-time face-to-face learning to the online mode of study; or
even be sent home to finish up their study when the means cannot be contained.
Аброква Г.О., Донкор Э. Вестник РУДН. Серия: Политология. 2021. Т. 23. 1. С. 141–158
156 МОЛОДЕЖЬ: СОЦИАЛЬНЫЙ И ПОЛИТИЧЕСКИЙ КАПИТАЛ
The authors believe that this anxiety and fears in studies cannot be ignored as it will
have a psychological toil on many international students in post-pandemic Europe
and that member states will not be bothered by the broader opinion and debates
about global interconnectivity with respect to education.
Evidentially, politics is driving communities across the continent, which has
made right-wing parties to further expand their ideological propositions to be more
secured. Perhaps, educational institutions have none other option but acquaint their
students not only to be proactive towards social change around them but cope with
the rate of the political shift operating in the region. Here, educational migrants will
face a broader issue of practising different forms of ethics that might be complex,
specific, contingent, uncertain, and diverse from their origin. Issues will be a
transnational and involved political dimension that must be tackled differently from
previously existing norms. Students must understand and comply with the severity
and consequences of the profound changes that they and their communities will be
experiencing. Moreover, the knowledge acquisition that they will seek might no
longer assume universal norms and rules, not because of the institutional
arrangement but due to political inclination. The relevance of education has the
means of empowering specific action in global politics, and this includes both intra-
transformation and the inter-transformation with others [Rizvi 2019].
Findings and conclusion
The modern transformation in the political process in Europe has been charged
by an anti-immigration socio-political mobilization equating it to the perception of
native culture and norm being hampered in the present and future years. However,
this does not fit the current measure and description of this phenomenon and how
this can influence educational migration in subsequent years. The authors review
these works by analyzing ways in which Populist Party’s success hinges on
immigrants and host citizen’s countries in relation to economic reasons, cultural
dimension, bipartisan politics, cultural globalization, and inequality. The findings
show that migrants from different socio-cultural and religious background give
right-wing parties the privilege to use immigration issue to their advantage in public
discourse. This new order will suggest that educational migrants should then have
to understand that a climate of the unknown has emerged in many parts of the world.
Based on this, students can be asked to stay put in their home countries and study,
changes in the mode of study from full-time face-to-face learning to the online
mode of study will be the order of the day. In extreme cases, students might go
home to finish up their study, if and only if, Covid-19 pandemic penetrate through
hopes of getting a vaccine coupled with issues arising from the complexities of
transnationalism. On the contrary, the vaccine to cure the pandemic will be found,
and mass educational migration perhaps might happen which in the long run will
worsen inequality between host and sending countries. If this happens, educational
institutions need to acquaint their students not only to be proactive towards social
change around them but cope with the rate of the political shift operating in the
Abrokwa G.O., Donkor E. RUDN Journal of Political Science, 2021, 23(1), 141–158
YOUTH: SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CAPITAL 157
region. The author’s expectation of future research pays attention to the political
transformation process and how anti-immigration discourse will exercise control
over educational institutions.
Received / Поступила в редакцию: 06.11.2020
Accepted / Принята к публикации: 12.11.2020
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About the authors:
Abrokwa Godfred Ohemeng – PhD (Candidate) in Political Science, Department of Comparative
Political Science, People’s Friendship University Russia (e-mail: 1042205062@pfur.ru) (ORCID ID:
0000-0002-7344-5698).
Donkor Emmanuel – PhD (Candidate) in Migration and Urban Studies, Department of Social Geography
and Regional Development, Charles University, Czech Republic (e-mail: donkore@natur.cuni.cz)
(ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5000-7839).
Сведения об авторах:
Аброква Годфред Охеменгаспирант кафедры сравнительной политологии Российского
университета дружбы народов (e-mail: 1042205062@pfur.ru) (ORCID ID: 0000-0002-7344-5698).
Донкор Эммануэльаспирант кафедры социальной географии и регионального развития
Карлова университета (e-mail: donkore@natur.cuni.cz) (ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5000-7839).
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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As an extension to a previous study that investigated 26 surveyed employers and ten directors of “campus international affairs offices” about their respective attitudes toward the value of study abroad, this article presents a study that focuses on the various types of employers who hire US undergraduates for entry-level positions. The purpose of this study was to examine what could be done to convince employers to respond in sufficient numbers to support the validity of the data.
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The acquisition of intercultural skills by studies abroad is often considered as desirable. But although we can observe a steady increase of studies abroad in the last two decades, the vast majority of students can, obviously, compete on the labor market also without study abroad experience. This leads to the consideration that it could be increasingly a socially expected and thus normative behavior to study abroad, which develops only in specific social and professional contexts. In this paper, both the conditions and effects of a social norm to study abroad are discussed theoretically and empirically. Data of a cross-sectional survey among students of economics and engineering at a German university are used. The direct mobility experience is the strongest predictor of a social norm to study abroad and this norm, in turn, determines the intention to study abroad most, compared to expected personality development and career success. The results are finally discussed in terms of possible effects on individual mobility biographies and social inequality.