The University of Newcastle, Australia

Guiding students on their path to success

Armed with one degree, two diplomas and a lifetime of experience, Louis Ndagijimana is utilising his skills to help students from a refugee or refugee-like background participate and succeed in higher education.

Louis has spent over five years working across the Hunter in various support roles, assisting families and school students gain access to relevant services.

He is no stranger to the barriers this particular group face, overcoming similar challenges during his Bachelor of Social Science, which sparked an interest in equity and led to his current role as a Project Officer within the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE).

He is currently employing a theory and practice (praxis) approach to diminish some of the concerns students from a refugee or refugee-like background face in higher education, including feeling lost, discouraged, empty and vulnerable.


Louis himself experienced English language difficulties and cultural shock as a university student, which has motivated him to assist under-represented students who think that tertiary education is inaccessible.

“I am trying to help and demonstrate how education can be navigable regardless of circumstance or background. Through equity, students (of refugee or refugee-like backgrounds) can use their vulnerability or emptiness and turn it into opportunities by using available resources and all means of success throughout education,” he said.

“People from refugee or refugee-like backgrounds struggle a lot with new systems, new culture and new environments. My own background and experiences have helped me to connect with and assist current university students,” he added.

Through his current role within CEEHE, Louis facilitates weekly drop-in sessions that provide refugee or refugee-like students with a safe place to exchange dialogue around their education.

“Students get the opportunity to share education skills and knowledge among themselves. If they have a question, they are able to ask me and I help find the answer. This path allows students to feel a sense of belonging, enjoy their journey of success and reach their potential,” Louis explained.

Email Louis for more information about the drop-in sessions.