Building Educational Resilience Through Transnational Mobility Trajectories: Young People Between Ghana and The Netherlands

Joan van Geel, Valentina Mazzucato*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Trips by migrant youth to their origin country are seen by institutional actors such as teachers and social workers as disrupting youth's educational progress, and some European countries have financial and legal consequences when these trips take place during the school year. We follow Ghanaian youth living in The Netherlands on their journeys to Ghana and study how they experience such trips and are affected by them. Trips allow young people to reconnect with family and old friends, recollect memories, and confront them with poverty in their country of origin, making them resilient and motivated when facing adversities in school in the Netherlands. This study investigates how young Ghanaians' mobility between Ghana and The Netherlands relates to their educational resilience. Based on 20 months of multi-sited ethnographic research following 30 youths of 16-25 age group, we deploy a socio-ecological approach developed in social psychology to identify three resilience-building mechanisms: connection to motivational others, active recollection and comparative confrontation. These mechanisms have to date remained outside of the purview of resilience research and research on migration and education, as these fields focus on the nation-state rather than the transnational context in which young people operate. They thereby ignore mobility patterns that make other contexts relevant to young people's educational resilience. As such, we expand the socio-ecological model of resilience to include transnational elements and show how mobility can positively relate to education and the resilience of migrant youth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1103308820940184
Pages (from-to)119-136
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Early online date5 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Transnational mobility trajectories
  • educational resilience
  • young Ghanaians
  • migration and education
  • CARE

Cite this