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Title: Discovering self and 'home' abroad : international student mobility from Canada to the Global South
Author: Prazeres, Laura
ISNI:       0000 0004 8498 9783
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores how international mobility and place influence international students' sense of self and 'home'. The study contributes to the literature on mobility and self-discovery and an emerging body of work on international student mobility, emotional geographies and mobile geographies of home. In doing so, it explores the process of young people's search for self-discovery and their (re)discovery of 'home' through the contextual lens of international student mobility. More specifically, it critically examines the predominant trope of self-discovery and self-change within young people's mobility narratives. Drawing on a qualitative longitudinal approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted over time (i.e. pre-departure, mid-point and return) with Canadian exchange students studying or interning in the Global South. Photo-elicitation was also combined with the final return interviews through the use of participant-directed photography. Analysis of the empirical qualitative material reveals the role of comfort, familiarity, everyday life, social networks, place and temporality in enabling and facilitating students' self-discovery, (re)discovery of 'home' and distinction. Leaving the comfort zone is a predominant motivation for mobility and this thesis demonstrates how feelings of (dis)comfort are productive for self-discovery, home-making and distinction. The findings reveal that 'home' is an idea and feeling that is (re)discovered during the sojourn abroad. The thesis supports a notion of self-discovery as processual rather than an ultimate 'true' discovery. The findings suggest that the return to the place of origin is a process of showcasing self-discovery and self-change and performing distinction and difference to validate the sojourn and personal changes. I also develop and propose the notions of collective and individual distinctions whereby students navigate and negotiate a tension between these two competing forms of distinctions. I thus argue that international exchanges and international mobility away from a (home)place of origin allow students to engage in a particular process of self-discovery, distinction and (re)discovery of 'home'.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available