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International student mobility : the role of social networks

Beech, Suzanne E.


Suzanne E. Beech


Building upon recent work on higher education mobility, this paper contends that social networks of friendship and kinship are critical determinants for students deciding to study overseas, not just, as has hitherto been suggested, a complementary factor. It uses original data collected through interviews and focus groups with thirty-eight higher education international students studying at three UK universities and argues that students who choose to study overseas do not operate within a vacuum but rather draw upon extended networks of individuals who have chosen to do so themselves or advocate studying abroad. While this encouragement may be of an explicit and unequivocal nature – telling students that they ought to study overseas – for the majority it is rather more implicit. The students interviewed invariably related that higher education overseas or mobility more generally was an accepted practice amongst their peers, thereby leading to a normalisation of the mobility process. The paper concludes that international students come to accept mobility as a taken for granted stage within the lifecourse, and, whether intentionally or not, this is often the driving force behind their decision to study overseas.


Beech, S. E. (2015). International student mobility : the role of social networks. Social & cultural geography, 16(3), 332-350.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 23, 2014
Online Publication Date Nov 27, 2014
Publication Date Apr 3, 2015
Deposit Date Aug 5, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Social & cultural geography
Print ISSN 1464-9365
Electronic ISSN 1470-1197
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 3
Pages 332-350
Keywords International student mobility, Social networks, Decision-making, Transnationalism
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a description of an article which has been published in: Social & cultural geography, 2015, v.16, issue 3 at Full text not available in this repository until: May 2016


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