Gendering international student mobility: an Indian case study

Sondhi, Gunjan (2013) Gendering international student mobility: an Indian case study. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis explores the dialectical relationship between gender and
international student mobility (ISM). The focus is on the experiences of Indian
students across three space-time locations: before the students left India; while
abroad in Toronto; and their return to New Delhi. The value of this research is
two-fold. Firstly, my research helps to fill the lacuna in ISM research that
examines the phenomenon through a gender optic. Secondly, there is
increasing interest in Canada and other countries – evident in the media and
government policy – in international students from India.
The study is located at the nexus of gender and mobility scholarship; it adopts
Gendered Geographies of Power as a foundational framework. The research
employed a multi-sited, mixed-methods approach to data collection. The data
collection in the field sites of Toronto, Canada and New Delhi, India consisted of
in-depth semi-structured interviews and participant observations. An online
survey was mounted for the duration of the fieldwork to gather data on the
broader population of Indian students abroad. The results of this survey provide
context for the discussion in three empirical chapters.
The first of the three empirical chapters explores the impact of gender relations
in shaping motivations to study abroad. The second chapter examines how
relations of power in and across multiple spaces (re)shape the students‟
performances of gender identities in everyday life in Toronto. The final
empirical chapter examines the students‟ experience of return mobility as they
attempt to adapt to a different (but familiar) gender context again.
My research contributes to the growing body of scholarship on ISM as well as
that on gender and migration. By employing a gendered perspective, the indepth
interviews as well as ethnographic research reveals the shifting
subjectivities of the migrants as they simultaneously negotiate multiple ethnic
and kinship interactions in their everyday lived experiences. Secondly, the
online survey presents the gendered class configurations of the socio-economic
background of the Indian international students. Lastly, the „return‟ experiences
of the students are differentiated by gender: more women than men found it
harder to (re)negotiate their gender-expected performances in New Delhi.
Furthermore, the „return mobility‟ of men appears to be more permanent than
the return mobility of women.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic theory. Demography
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education > LC0068 Demographic aspects of education
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2013 14:48
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2015 15:11

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