This study explored the academic literacies of multilingual refugee-background students who had completed some higher education studies before migrating to Finland. Previous studies have paid little attention to students like them. The research context is a pilot training programme integrating language and content studies. Applying dialogical and nexus analytical perspectives, the study investigated the sense-making processes of two key participants in a Finnish-medium accountancy course that formed part of the programme. The primary data, comprising interviews and video-recorded meetings between the students and their teachers and tutors, were analysed by applying dialogical interaction analysis and narrative analysis in a nexus analytical framework. The results show that the students actively tried to make sense of the target literacy practices. This was observed in negotiations related to the use of technology, norms on authorship and plagiarism, and autonomy in studying. The course was challenging for the students, possibly because their previous experiences and resources had not prepared them for what was expected of them either explicitly in instructions or more implicitly in institutional discourses. This article concludes that structures and practices can be exclusionary if no attention is paid to them and discusses ways of improving inclusiveness in higher education.

DOI: 10.1515/eujal-2021-0005
ISSN: 21929521