Broadcast: News items

Sussex graduate Hulya is helping refugees survive in Turkey

Hulya Kaya

“I was working as a deputy governor for 18 years in Turkey when I decided to start my PhD. My supervisors at Sussex were the best in their academic areas - they treated me as their colleague not just as a student.”

Hulya Kaya came to the University of Sussex with a scholarship from the Turkish Government to do her PhD on migration and refugee law.

“Sussex is well-known in the area of law and very popular for migration studies,” she says. “I chose the University because my research subject requires me to study in such a multidisciplinary way.”

A mature student with two children, 44-year-old Hulya relocated her whole family to the UK to study. After the University helped her to find accommodation in Brighton, Hulya found juggling her studies and looking after two children tough at first.

She says: “In the beginning my younger daughter struggled to adjust to the new academic environment in her new school. But with help, she made new friends and learnt English very quickly.”

Hulya credits the University, and particularly the kindness of her supervisor, Professor Susan Millns, for helping her family to settle into life in the UK. “The doctoral school's seminars, courses and my colleagues’ experiences helped me a lot,” she says. “Especially PhD students, who have families. We had a chance to share our experiences during our lunchtime. Our common room in the Law Politics and Sociology School provided us very good opportunity to come together.

“My supervisor, Professor Susan Millns was also very kind. She really helped me to sort out my family issues so I could focus on my research topic, and after three years we left the UK with good memories and experiences.”

As a Deputy Governor of Istanbul, Hulya works on implementing policies to support migrants and asylum seekers in Turkey, particularly those coming from Syria. She coordinated and managed to open 140 General Health Services in different locations which help to provide health services to refugees.

Hulya says: “As a metropolitan city, Istanbul is hosting nearly half million refugees and I am eager to help them to settle down by providing them with dignified living conditions.

“Studying in the UK definitely enlarged my vision. In Turkey, there are not enough specialised lawyers and senior officials in migration and refugee law. It’s great that I can now turn my experience and knowledge into practice to assist refugees and migrants in need of help.”

See other inspiring Sussex students graduating in Summer 2018.



By: Lynsey Ford
Last updated: Monday, 23 July 2018