A future of endless possibilities? Institutional habitus and international students’ post-study aspirations and transitions

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Abstract

Research on international students’ post-study plans centres on factors
influencing migration and career decisions. However, few studies have
considered the impacts of individual institutions on students’ aspirations
and their subsequent transitions after graduation. In this paper, I
employ the notion of institutional habitus in order to explore the extent
to which higher education institutions expand or limit the range of
options that international students could envisage or realise. Drawing
on semi-structured interviews with 55 non-EU international postgraduate
students from three different UK universities, this study aims to
uncover the complex diversity that underpins ostensibly similar UK
higher education degrees. Notwithstanding the overlapping influences
of individual, family, friends and institution, I argue that individual institutions
play a significant role in shaping the ways in which participants
imagine and experience the field of possibilities after graduation. This
perspective also enables a more detailed examination of differences
between and within the institutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-418
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Volume42
Issue number3
Early online date6 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 6 Mar 2021

Keywords

  • institutional habitus
  • international students
  • post-graduation
  • aspirations and transitions
  • higher education
  • UK

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