Refugee Children’s Career Aspirations at a Hospitality Center in Greece

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refugee education, career aspirations, career orientation and vocational training, teenagers’ ambitions and expectations, inclusion in the society and labor force


A child-centered approach to education paves the way to discover a child’s personal dreams, aspirations, experiences, abilities, and interests. In child-centered educational contexts, students are encouraged to express and discover themselves. This is particularly relevant for refugee children who have suffered trauma, change, and repeated schooling interruptions that may negatively affect the future-oriented thinking that forms their career ambitions. The purpose of this study is to identify the aspirations of refugee children through a small-scale study conducted at a Refugee Hospitality Centre in the outskirts of Athens, Greece. Twenty-one (N) refugee teenagers were interviewed and participated upon their parents and teachers’ consent, through a semi-structured interview about their career preferences as well as their academic aspirations and intentions, as well as their chosen destination countries. The motives behind their choices were discussed and differentiations with gender, country of origin, and school attendance were examined. Finally, suggestions are made to support refugee students to explore possibilities about their career orientations and values in order to be included effectively within society and fulfill their aspirations.


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Author Biographies

Nektaria Palaiologou

Nektaria Palaiologou is Associate Professor at the School of Humanities at Hellenic Open University (HOU). Director of Language Education for Refugees Migrants (L.R.M.). international master program. Vice President of the International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE) since 2019. She is also serving as Editor in Chief at the Intercultural Education Journal, Taylor and Francis, Routledge. Nektaria has published extensively at international journals on issues about Intercultural Education, Multicultural Multilingual Education for Migrant and Refugee students, Teachers’ Education on these issues.

Viktoria Prekate, Hellenic Open University

Viktoria Prekate is a Secondary School Science Teacher and Psychologist, specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has extensive experience of education for refugee/migrant children, both as a former teacher at Intercultural Junior and Upper High Schools and as former Refugee Education Coordinator at Skaramagas Refugee Hospitality Center (hosting 3000 newly- arrived refugees from the Middle East and Africa), with the role of providing access of all refugee children to the Greek State Education System and a link between refugee and school communities. She also worked as psychologist with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies at the Child Friendly Space of Skaramagas RHC, leading groups for psychosocial support for students and parents.

Eirini Kyriazi

Eirini Kyriazi is Civil servant at the Training Institute of the National Centre for Public Administration and Local Government. Currently she is PhD candidate in the field of Multilingualism and foreign language teaching at National Kadopistrian University of Athens.


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How to Cite

Palaiologou, N., Prekate, V., & Kyriazi, E. (2024). Refugee Children’s Career Aspirations at a Hospitality Center in Greece. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 11(1), 1–12.



Original Manuscript
Received 2023-07-19
Accepted 2023-11-24
Published 2024-01-11