Progress Report Week 7-8/25

photoPages written: 6

Percentage work done compared to plan: 75%

Unforeseen problems: Analysing takes time and is difficult!

Unforeseen joy: Interesting, significant results!

Next week I plan to achieve the following: Finish results section, make graphs, present. In that order hopefully!


Progress Report Week 5&6/25

photoPages written: 12

Percentage work done compared to plan: 50%, I never really finished my revising ch 1&2 before going into the statistical analysis and now that is hanging over me…

Unforeseen problems: Sickness in the family! Hospital and all. Well, we are now fine.

Unforeseen joy: Finding a research partner in my statistics research assistant. We speak the same language and are extremely productive together.

Next week I plan to achieve the following: Finish a first draft on quantitative results and share it with my research assistant for proofing. Also finish Ch 1 & 2 (good enough is good enough!) and send off to supervisors (so that the last weeks of February can be devoted to analysis and prepping for the seminar I am to give on Thu 5 March!)

Progress Report Week 4/25

photoPages written: 7 (now 104)

Percentage work done compared to plan: “Email supervisors Ch1& 2,(NOT DONE) meet with stats help (YEP, LOOKS PROMISING), let someone review my interview guide (WAITING FOR FEEDBACK).”

Unforeseen joy: Finding an article that is very relevant to my work.

Unforeseen problems: Finding an article that is very relevant to my work.

Next week I plan to achieve the following: Finish revising ch 1&2 and getting some work done (half?) on statistical analysis.

Progress Report Week 3/25

photoPages written: -3, (97 pages or 27 701 words)

Percentage work done compared to plan: As can be seen above, I did not exactly do well this week, maybe 50%? I am proud I put in my ECAS abstract, had some issues with statistical help and have now merged all my documents, but not really written anything.

Unforeseen problems: Health, my back is very sore and my nose is running, was basically in bed all day on Monday. Also a flat tyre plus a bolt that was stuck and the ensuing alignment and balancing lost me lone full day of work.

Unforeseen joy: My daughter started eating food! Soon I will not have to pause my thinking every other hour to feed her! Also the UG PhD handbook was published online, so now I know more about my deadlines and obligations.

Next week I plan to achieve the following: Email supervisors Ch1& 2, meet with stats help, let someone review my interview guide.

Progress Report Week 2/25

photoPages written: 2 (page count 100)

Percentage work done compared to plan: 80%, I got contacts for people to help me with the statistical analysis, but did not find the time to follow up. I restructured my work and worked on intro instead of literature, but still made progress.

Unforeseen problems: Internet was down all week. It is still down, writing this off of our backup.

Unforeseen joy:  Internet was down all week. Yep, aside from it being VERY IMPRACTICAL, it is easier to focus on thinking.

Next week I plan to achieve the following: Finish revising Chapter 1 and 2 and send to supervisors. Call people who can help with statistical analysis and book first meeting, write abstract for ECAS 15.

Progress Report Week 1/25

photoPages written: 0

Percentage work done compared to plan: 100% (my plan was to plan)

Unforeseen problems:

Unforeseen joy: I love planning! I feel excited about the project.

Next week I plan to achieve the following: Email supervisors and seminar coordinators, start revising literature section, find a person who can help with statistical analysis.

Presentation at RIPS, University of Ghana

An overview of the research project was presented at RIPS on Wed 5th November, 2014. Here is the abstract for the presentation.\\

Abstract for RIPS Seminar Nov 5th, 2014, 2 pm

On A Course to Migrate?  Student Migration Aspirations among University Students in Ghana

by Kajsa Hallberg Adu, PhD Candidate, Institute of African Studies, UG

Academic mobility and migration is a topic receiving growing scholarly attention from a variety of fields: population geography, migration studies and higher education studies, however students from the Global South are rarely the objects of analysis. To address this lacuna, my dissertation research is a case study centered on students enrolled in higher education in Ghana and their migration aspirations. Although highly tangible in the Ghanaian society, the scope of Ghanaian student migration is not currently known, including its numbers, financing, destinations and underlying reasons. I argue there is a need to describe, analyze and theorize this particular phenomenon. For my dissertation research I employ the mixed method of focus groups (n=30), e-survey (n=500) and interviews.

Specifically, I want to highlight and discuss three contested areas in the literature. First, is migration out of the Global South is driven predominantly by economic considerations or cultural influences, further education and other considerations like the quest for “exposure” and self-realization? In the international student migration discourse (ISM) drivers of student migration for students in Europe are not predominantly financial in nature, but reasons for studies outside one’s own country rather include cultural influences, language learning and “adventure” (Alberts & Hazen, 2005; Carlson, 2011; Findlay et al., 2010; Murphy-Lejeune, 2007) In the local discourse, the capital needed to migrate suggests it is not a career path for the poor { Awumbila 2011}. Also, the pursuit of graduate and post-graduate training has been cited among for instance Ghanaian medical doctors as a reason for migration aspiration (Anarfi, Quartey, & Adjei, 2006; Dovlo & Nyonator, 1999).  Notably, Francis Nii-Amoo Dodoo (1997) in his analysis of census data for the US questions the returns of such investments for male African degree holders.  Second, what is a student from the Global South? A young, inexperienced free-rider or rather a valuable, talented, fee-payer? Students of today often finance their own migration, hence the value of students as fee payers and future highly-skilled workers in so-called knowledge societies is being recognized and more resources are put into recruiting students from the Global South, often directly on campuses in the Global South. Third, there are historical, colonial paths of student migration from the Global South to the Global North that often are assumed to be stagnant or even waning. However, the “decolonization of the mind” might be a slow process as has been suggested by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (1994).

On this note, I hypothesize that student aspirations in the Global South are similar to elsewhere, but also formed by historically and contemporary construed information irregularities concerning opportunities.


Kajsa Hallberg Adu is a lecturer at Ashesi University College and a PhD-candidate at the University of Ghana. Since 2009, she has been teaching political science, leadership, and academic writing. Her dissertation explores student voices on migration aspirations and has the working title “On a Course to Migrate? Migration Aspirations among University Students in Ghana”.

Kajsa’s research interests include higher education in Africa, youth, migration, decolonial theory, pedagogics, and social media. Kajsa is the co-founder of BloggingGhana, an organization for social media influencers in Ghana. She is herself a successful blogger on She holds a Masters in Political Science from Uppsala University, Sweden

OACtM at Nordic Africa Days 2014

Kajsa presented a paper at NAD 2014 29-30 September, 2014:

Panel: 26. Migrant Genealogies: Narratives, History and Relatedness


“Have you ever seen a plane seat before?” Migration and mobility narratives among university students in Ghana

In this paper, I want to discuss migration and mobility narratives of university students based on a series of focus group discussions held at University of Ghana (a major public university) and Ashesi University College (a small liberal arts college) in Ghana. My interest is in undergraduate students, a group that is largely overlooked in migration studies. To understand why and how students migrate out of Africa, I argue an Africanist or decolonial view must be applied. One way of doing that is letting African students themselves explain the phenomenon. Another aspect is to contextualize Ghanaian university students’ migration narratives and include a critical view of knowledge production in the world (Dei 2010, Gatsheni 2013, Grosfoguel 2011).

My results suggest that while most students consider international migration in their projects of life-making, a share of them instead expressed strong aspirations not to migrate based on a mix of family and cultural reasons. I found that parents, but also religious leaders and lecturers play a role in shaping migration aspirations. Students mention, and critique, the strong “norm” to migrate aligned with literature on cultures of migration. Students also discussed receiving direct information from friends and relatives abroad over VOIP and social media channels – new important avenues for narratives of migration.   Although students in general are well informed about the steps for migration, many do not own a passport, suggesting the aspiration is not always backed by preparations. Interestingly, several students suggest lower-educated individuals are more likely to have a strong aspiration to migrate – I construe this as form of “othering”, not previously found in the literature.