22 SES 11 A, Accessibility and Choices in Higher Education
Paper/Ignite Talk Session
This paper explores the trajectories of international PhD candidates from South-East Asia in STEM fields residing in Germany from a life course perspective. The central questions are: a) What role does the communication culture of the German higher education institutions play in integrating international PhD candidates into the new host country? b) What learning processes/ decisions do they experience while migrating? c) What kind of employment prospects are to be expected after finishing the PhD? d) What types of expectations are connected to doing a doctorate in Germany?
The political and social debate on highly qualified immigrants in knowledge societies like Germany has gained new momentum in the wake of the economic crisis, the demographic change and global economic competitiveness. Economic and technical growth, labour shortages and competition in the global war for talents makes Germany aware that some of the answers to these challenges could be in attracting as many highly skilled immigrants as possible. In this sense an internationalisation of universities is taken place. This study will identify and address issues of higher education policies from a life course perspective, i.e. from self-reflexive learning processes, motivation, educational and work transitions, life designs and expectations as well as the role of family in the individual life course
Applying a biographical approach that embeds the specific migration decisions in the life course context enables getting a deeper understanding of the involvement of international PhD candidates from South-East Asia in the German higher education and German labour market. First by understanding and reconstructing the biographical experiences of international PhD candidates with the help of biographical narrative interviews we can implicitly better understand the structural, political and social frameworks of the host
Especially for institutions, organisations and universities the results will be of great relevance in developing new offers for better social and professional integration of international PhD candidates in the German higher education and labour market upon finishing. While addressing educational, ethical and employment concerns this research will also be a valuable resource for academics, policymakers and PhD candidates alike. Relatively few studies look at the learning processes/decisions and their implications for international PhD candidates’ life course as well as at the communication culture in higher education in Germany and ethical aspects arising from it.
Elder, G.H. (1994). Time, human agency and social-change. Perspective on the life course. Social Psychology Quarterly. 57. 4-15 Iredale, R. (2001). The migration of professionals: theories and typologies. International Migration 39(5):24. Kõu, A., Bailey A., Wissen v. L. (2009). Migrant biographies: A life course approach to high-skilled migration. XXVI IUSSP International Population Conference. Session 210
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