The Ties that Bind (or Not): Social Networks Among Extra-Continental Migrants

By Heather Kunin, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. Social networks have long been recognized as playing a pivotal role within migration, with multiple studies examining, among other phenomena, the role of social networks in predicting the decision to migrate and choice of destination, as well as in impacting migrants’ chances for integration. Social network analysis (SNA) is a methodology for visualizing and interrogating relationships among actors and is highly applicable to a field where social networks are considered “one of the fundamentals of the migration process.” Until recently, this discipline has been woefully underutilized within migration studies, although this is beginning to change.

Read more

Retaining, Changing, and Surrendering Hegemonic Masculinities

By Subin Mulmi, under the supervision of Kim Wilson. Transatlantic migration from South Asia is a long, arduous, and expensive journey but each year many South Asians risk their lives to reach the supposed dreamland of the United States. A large majority of the South Asians that I met during our re-search in 2018 in Costa Rica were men, prompting a focus on how men experienced long-distance migration.

Read more

How to Achieve the American Dream on an Immigrant’s Income

By Jeffrey Ashe, Kim Wilson.
The American Dream—being able to earn a good living, buy a home, send children to school, and build a life in the United States regardless of social stature or place of birth—is an aspiration for most who immigrate to the United States. While new immigrants may be fleeing violence, poverty, and persecution—so called “push factors”—they are also pulled by the prospects of a better life for themselves and their children. Some immigrants arrive in the United States wealthy, educated, and fluent in English. These case studies focus on immigrants who may arrive with a few dollars in their pocket, struggle with English, and sometimes are without legal documents. Our research examines how immigrant households save up in groups to transform income that is irregular, uncertain, and low into regular, predictable, and meaningful sums of cash.

Read more

The Other Migration, Part 2: Journey Through the Darién Gap

Migrants and refugees who have fled to South America may attempt to travel up through Central America in search of safety and stability in the US or Canada. This journey involves crossing one of the world’s most dangerous jungles: The Darién Gap, along the border of Colombia and Panama. In part two of this three-part series, learn about this perilous leg of the migration journey.

Read more

The Other Migration, Part 1: Who and Why

As countries across the globe crack down on immigration, migrants and refugees are forced to uncover new travel routes in search of safety and stability. The Other Migration examines the journey of migrants from Africa and Asia as they travel across the world to South America and up through Central America. Part one of this three-part series examines who is traveling on this migration route and why.

Read more

Reflections on Conducting a Lean Research Field Study

By Sarah Carson, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Field research is a common and often powerful piece of post-graduate training in international affairs and development. But sending students to the field also comes with risks to both students and study participants. What happens when you send five students abroad to execute Lean Research on their own? What challenges might they encounter, and what innovative solutions could they develop? And what do they learn that could be applied to similar experiences in the future?

Read more

Gaps in Policies, Chasms for Refugees

By Devang Shah, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
An open-door policy, free primary education, health care, monthly rations and cash. Sounds like a perfect policy recipe for integration of refugees with their local communities. However, for more than twenty years since Kebri Beyah camp was established, refugees living there are still financially unstable and far from integration. Why are the steps taken by various governmental and non-governmental organisations still proving ineffective? This essay attempts to answer this question by diving into the chasm between policy making and policy implementation for the case of the Somali region in Ethiopia. We will analyze which policies, programs, and initiatives have worked, which have not, and why.

Read more

The Impact of Volunteer Employment on Migrant Outcomes: Ugandan Perspective

By Dan Creamer, under the supervision of Kim Wilson.
Formal employment opportunities are limited in Uganda’s economy, especially for migrants and refugees. Considering these barriers, “volunteer” jobs represent a crucial vehicle for migrants to gain new skills, build their networks, gain access to future opportunities, and even earn reasonable wages. This essay seeks to show the importance of volunteer positions for migrants, how these opportunities differ between Kampala and the Bidi Bidi Refugee Camp, and whether these volunteer opportunities are privileging specific demographic groups.

Read more