Anna Triandafyllidou

Why Do People Migrate? Part 1: Facts

  • FREE
  • English
  • Social Sciences & Humanities

What is the course about?

This course provides a general introduction to the conditions of refugees, asylum seekers and irregular migrants worldwide (data, regions, etc.) and an overview of the terminology used. It then analyses specific cases in the most relevant geographical contexts, including the asylum seekers arriving in Europe through the Mediterranean, the undocumented Mexican migrants crossing the US border, the Syrian refugees in Turkey and the Rohingya in Australia. In discussing these cases, we will explore the dilemmas behind humanitarian protection and irregular migration for labour purposes.

The course is based on video lectures, didactic videos and podcast interviews with international experts. Assignments consist of short quizzes for each unit and a journal exercise at the end of the course. Suggestions for further reading will be included in order to achieve a more in-depth understanding.

To learn more about the theories that explain international migration, check out Part 2: Theories

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

- identify the fundamental terminology and concepts used to discuss about irregular migrants and asylum seekers;

- describe key case studies of irregular migration and asylum seeking in the world;

- discuss possible future scenarios and the social challenges posed by these migrations.

Who is this course for?

This course is meant as a general introduction to migration issues for students and practitioners.

What do I need to know?

Knowledge of English language is essential. Previous knowledge of basic sociological or economic debates can be an advantage, although this is not a compulsory prerequisite. The only other requirement is enthusiasm and interest in the topic.

Course Structure


Unit 1.1 – What are irregular migration and asylum?

Unit 1.2 – Let us talk about words!


Unit 2.1 – Irregular border crossings towards the EU

Unit 2.2 – Refugee status in Europe (podcast with Lilian Tsourdi)

Unit 2.3 – The case of Syrian refugees in Turkey (podcast with Fulya Memisoglu)


Unit 3.1 – Irregular Latin-American migrants in US agriculture (podcast with Philip Martin)

Unit 3.2 – Gender and irregular migration in Latin America (podcast with Tanja Bastia)


Unit 4.1 – Maritime arrivals in Australia

Unit 4.2 – The case of Rohingya refugees (podcast with Marie McAuliffe)

Course instructors