Refugee Experience and Transformative Learning

  • Mary Margaroni Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • Kostas Magos University of Thessaly
Keywords: asylum seekers, refugees, Transformative Learning, Greece


This paper uses the biographical method to investigate the contribution of the refugee experience in the process of transformation in young Afghan asylum seekers in Greece. It examines the participants’ extremely adverse socio-political background in their country of origin; the marginalization that existed in the long-term intermediate refugee station, Iran; the arduous and perilous journey to the West and their experiences in their new host country Greece. What emerges is that the participants’ initial frame of reference is problematic, in the sense that they can no longer function effectively in the new social environment (the host country). Thus, they learn a new frame of reference and there is a transformation of their wider mental habits. By means of a comparative reflective approach of old and new frames of reference and mentalities, the participants re-evaluate among other things, religion, gender and intergenerational relations, and generally the adoption of human rights as a prerequisite sine qua non, for the restoration of respect for human existence.

Author Biographies

Mary Margaroni, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Mary Margaroni teaches Modern Greek as L2 and Culture to Foreign Students at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (School of Modern Greek Language) in Greece. Her scientific interests focus on Anthropology of Language, Intercultural Education and Cultural Studies.

Kostas Magos, University of Thessaly

Kostas Magos is Assistant Professor of Intercultural Education at the University of Thessaly in Greece. His scientific interests focus on theory and practice of intercultural education, refugee education and critical pedagogy.