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Going global? International students, UK higher education and the pursuit of an international career

Lee, Jihyun; (2021) Going global? International students, UK higher education and the pursuit of an international career. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis explores the extent to which international student mobility reinforces existing social inequalities by providing differentiated access to global higher education and, subsequently, a global labour market. Based on case studies of three universities in the UK, this research draws on interviews with 55 international students from outside of the European Union (non-EU) who were enrolled in or had recently completed postgraduate studies as well as three career staff to examine the following issues. Firstly, this thesis investigates the process by which international students make higher education choices. The study demonstrates the socially and spatially differentiated flow of international students across the case universities in the UK. Students’ experiences of choice-making are qualitatively different by access to the range of resources obtained from various spheres of their lives. This decision-making process is further complicated by their class, age, gender and race/ethnicity, as well as the intersections of these social divisions. In addition, this thesis examines the institutional contexts which generate a divergent field of possibilities and choices for international students after graduation. It identifies variations in the effects of attending three different UK universities, whilst highlighting the ways in which individual institutions shape students’ aspirations and transitions after graduation. It also finds that the institutional effects are mediated differently by students’ social characteristics, indicating the complexity of post-study aspirations and pathways through UK higher education. Lastly, this thesis analyses whether international higher education confers positional advantage in the global labour market by facilitating an international career. By looking at how an international career is understood and experienced by international students in the UK, this research empirically contests the dominant conception of an international career that centres on transnational mobility and illuminates the multiple ways of pursuing an international career which take on a circumventive or subversive potential.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Going global? International students, UK higher education and the pursuit of an international career
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128484
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