International Student Mobility and the Role of Social Networks

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Over the course of the last two decades unprecedented numbers of students have chosen to leave their home countries and pursue their higher education overseas. As a result, they are increasingly part of international knowledge networks that provide them with the opportunity to study (almost) anywhere they wish, provided they have the capital to do so. My doctoral research investigates how students choose where to study and shows that the processes involved are highly complex. Students are influenced by opinions and advice from those around them, building up ideas of place through their social networks. The network actors involved are diverse – friends, family and, at times, even relative strangers – sharing knowledge gained either through their first-hand experience of studying overseas or based upon geographical imaginings they have constructed through their own contacts. The students rely on these lived experiences of the actors within their networks as a template to determine the benefits they too shall receive from going overseas. This paper seeks to establish how these friendship and kinship networks are deeply embedded within the decision making of international students by drawing upon evidence from three UK universities. In short, students are influenced by a diverse range of networks and the members involved offer information, not only about the universities and courses at their disposal, but the cities and the regions as well.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2012
EventRGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2012 - University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20125 Jul 2012


ConferenceRGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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