International education ‘here’ and ‘there’: geographies, materialities and differentiated mobilities within UK degrees

Jihyun Lee, Johanna Waters

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This paper explores how mobility is experienced differentially in international education, through a comparison of two ostensibly very distinct student groups. Both groups have non-UK citizenship and have studied, or are studying, for a British higher education degree – one in the UK, the other in Hong Kong. Through a dual focus on the materialities and mobilities within international higher education, we consider the extent to which physical mobility across borders is a defining feature of the experiences and outcomes of those engaging in international education. We argue that combining perspectives of mobilities and materialities challenges simplistic dichotomies of im/mobility amongst students and unsettles the boundaries between onshore and offshore international education. Our paper provides a more granular and nuanced understanding of the relationship between im/mobility, international higher education and social reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial & Cultural Geography
Early online date18 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 18 Apr 2022


  • Materialities
  • mobilities
  • international higher education
  • UK
  • Hong Kong


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