African students are increasingly drawn to Asian countries while seeking higher education. As Europe is closing its borders and Western rhetoric remains islamophobic, Islamic countries like Malaysia become more attractive. The practice of Islam and English as a widely spoken language are additional pull factors. The Malaysian Islamic faith is connected to a certain ethnic group and is thus ethnicized. This ethnicization of society also results in the ‘othering’ against migrant populations. Foreign students have to cope with this situation additionally to all other factors of living abroad.
This ethnographic study observes the micro-level effects of processes of deterritorialization and contributes to the study of African-Asian transnational networks. The focus will be on the personal experiences of African students during their studies at Malaysian universities. The research project explores questions of identity and difference as well as transnational religious networks.