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The motivations, experiences, and aspirations of UK students on short-term international mobility programmes.

Seal, Alexander P. (2018) The motivations, experiences, and aspirations of UK students on short-term international mobility programmes. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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International student mobility had undergone considerable growth over the last thirty years (OECD, 2015). Students who travel to different countries to study can be seen as an important group of people who develop the internationalisation of higher education. One type of student mobility, credit mobility, has come to assume greater importance recently. The number of credit mobile students, that is students who undertake a period studying or working abroad during their degree, has increased (European Commission, 2016). However, whilst credit mobile students form only a small minority of the student population, there has been a lack of research with young people who choose to participate in these programmes. This PhD research is a qualitative project that explores the motivations, experiences and aspirations of UK students who have spent either a semester or year abroad. Firstly, this study explores the backgrounds and biographies of these students who choose to travel abroad for higher education. Secondly, the study analyses the experiences of these students during their stay overseas. And thirdly, careful attention is paid to the aspirations of these students after they have returned from their period abroad. In this research, I demonstrate how young people attach significant value to student mobility by discussing it as an acceptable form of ‘authentic’ travel. Discourses around acceptable forms of travel, I show, stem from the habitus (Bourdieu 1986) of these young people. Secondly, I provide the first in-depth analysis of the key experiences of these students whilst abroad. Drawing on John Urry’s (2002) concept of the tourist gaze, I outline how new experiences away from home create a sense of adventure and novelty. Lastly, this research makes an original contribution to knowledge by developing our understanding of the aspirations of students who have completed a period abroad. Using Bauman’s (1996, 1998) theory of ‘tourism’, I demonstrate how young people who have studied and/or worked abroad become seduced by imagined mobile futures. I show how, for these students, their experiences create desires to continue living mobile lifestyles.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Seal, Alexander P.
Date : 28 February 2018
Funders : Higher Education Academy
Contributors :
Depositing User : Alexander Seal
Date Deposited : 05 Mar 2018 09:18
Last Modified : 05 Mar 2018 09:18

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