Bridging the Cultural Challenges: The Formation of Transnational Social and Cultural Opportunities by African Students in Turkey
In Turkey, the number of African university students has been on the rise since 2011, especially those on Turkish scholarships. This development is part of Turkey’s soft-power expansion to Africa and is also due to African students being able to access university education in the North. Using ethnographic qualitative research and focus group methods, involving interviews and discussions with 45 African students at university in Turkey, this study found that African students in Turkey confront multiple challenges with regard to linguistic and cultural adaptation into Turkish society. Despite these obstacles, African students draw upon their agency innovatively in promoting their educational interests and rely on their abilities to break the sociocultural barriers. Based on these findings, this research provides insight into how African university students in Turkey mobilise formal and informal resources transnationally to creatively develop transnational sociocultural platforms that are beneficial to their immediate educational goals and to their subsequent pursuit of opportunities and a career within an increasingly complex transnational world.