Mobile Students from Kazakhstan: Migration for Education or Education for Emigration?

Gulnar Nassimova, Marem Buzurtanova, Kadyrzhan Smagulov, Kirill Kartashov


The article discusses the results of an empirical sociological study on the migratory trajectories of mobile students from Kazakhstan. The study included a series of in-depth interviews and a survey aimed at establishing why they decided to study abroad, how they chose the country to study, and what they were planning to do upon graduation. The ‘push-pull plus’ model was applied to bridge economic and sociological aspects of educational migration from Kazakhstan and to overcome structure-agency dichotomy. Profiles of mobile students across three types of migratory trajectories were developed: Immediate Returnees migrating for educational purposes, i.e. maximisation of utility; Deferred Returnees, whose rational choice is combined with desire and aspiration; and Definite Non-returnees, for whom education is a means of emigration prompted by deprivation due to the situation in the home country, which creates predisposing and proximate drivers.



educational migration; migratory trajectory; mobile students; education for emigrational purposes; migration for educational purposes

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