International Doctoral Students’ Navigations of Identity and Belonging in a Globalizing University

Jennifer M Phelps
International Journal of Doctoral Studies  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 001-014
This article draws on findings from a broad study on the influences of globalization on the experiences of international doctoral students at a large, research intensive Canadian university. It focuses specifically on these students’ lived experiences of change in their national identities and senses of belonging in a globalizing world. Using a qualitative, multiple case narrative approach, students’ experiences were collected via in-depth interview and analyzed through a theoretical lens of transnational social fields. The study found that international doctoral students experienced multiplicity, ambiguity, and flux in their senses of self, belonging, and educational purposes as they engaged in the transnational academic and social spaces of the university. Their narratives are revealing of the ways that international doctoral students consciously construct identities that traverse national affiliations as they engage in higher levels of mobility and interact with highly internationalized environments and networks. The study contributes insight into the transformative nature of international doctoral study and identifies specific ways in which processes of globalization influence the international doctoral student experience.
international doctoral students, transnationalism, graduate education, globalization, identity, belonging
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