Leaving Home: Yemeni Students Discuss Study Abroad Migration

  •  Howard Lorne Martyn    


The decision to migrate for educational purposes is often stressful, but for those leaving countries embroiled in major warring conflicts, the decision may be overshadowed by feelings of sadness, anger and loss. And for many, the ostensible purpose of migration - education, is overshadowed by the desire or need to leave for economic and security reasons. In such situations, migrants hope they can power through those negative feelings and emerge successful, and with familial honor intact. The narrative weapon used to defeat negative feelings are stories of pride and resourcefulness. In this study Yemeni students studying at a university in Guangdong Province, China were interviewed concerning their decisions to leave Yemen. Participants were between 20 and 30 years old: all were male. Most hailed from Aden or Sana’a or areas adjacent to those major cities and all aligned themselves with pre-1990 South Yemen, as described by their fathers. Narrative analysis revealed a striking similarity: stories of hopeful future redemption through economic opportunities found abroad. Indeed, participants revealed a consuming desire for economic success - an obligation that was energized by feelings of pride in being trusted with custodial duties of familial honor. The results are discussed qualitatively in terms of categorical content and episodic form. This study is limited in that it only includes Yemeni males aligned with pre-1990 South Yemen, and those who hail from Sana’a, Aden or nearby urban centers. Future studies should include women, and those who encompass wider political views and reside in rural areas.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9655
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9663
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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