Adviser on the Edge

careers in island communities: research, theory and practice

International vs Internal Student Mobilities

4 Comments

One of my colleagues at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Dr Philomena De Lima is doing some work at the moment to bring together scholarship on international migration and internal migration. Thinking about her work, I read the paper “Internal and International Migration: Bridging the Theoretical Divide”  (King, Skeldon and Vullnetari, 2008). Now, in my PhD I think about internal migration the whole time – how students and graduates move from their island locations, mostly to the Scottish Mainland. Most of my reading has been about internal migration and rural-urban migration specifically. Sometimes in conversations with others I am asked about how my work fits with current international interests in migration (say, for example, when I was last in Greece and the refugee crisis there was very visible). However I haven’t really thought a great deal about it, as most of the research into international migration doesn’t seem that relevant to me. I guess in many ways I have been stuck on the ‘internal’ side of the migration divide!

lesvos-1206678_1920

Refugee camp at Mytilini, Lesvos Island where I was at a conference last year (photo courtesy of Pixabay)

Reading King et al’s paper was very interesting though, because they highlight how the traditions of researching international and internal migration have indeed been quite separate (it’s not just me who has focused on one and not the other…). In their paper they suggest that we should be ‘bridging the theoretical divide’- partly to address the imbalance in scholarship (most scholarship is on the topic of international migration, but most migration is internal) and also because the boundaries between internal and international migration in practice can be very blurred. In particular they discuss the systems approach to migration as being a possible paradigm that can encompass both internal and international migration. Reading their paper has inspired me to not think so narrowly about migration but to consider how international and internal migration might be part of the same spectrum. In fact when reading their paper I was struck by reflecting on how often international migration came up in my interviews with participants as a future possibility (and an actual lived experience in a couple of cases).

What it also got me thinking about is practical implications from my research. So within the UK higher education setting a key emphasis in recent years in terms of graduate employment has been on internationalisation of students and graduates to enable them to access a global workplace (Diamond et al, 2011). However what has received a great deal less attention are issues around internal mobility of students and graduates. My research is showing that this is an important issue for students especially given that graduate jobs are not equally geographically distributed, with a strong centralisation in city regions, and in the UK particularly the South East (Ball, 2012).

What occurs to me is that perhaps universities and higher education policy has been particularly focused on international mobility without necessarily seeing a link to internal mobility. But, I would suggest, perhaps these two could be thought of as part of the same spectrum? And if universities are serious about increasing graduate choice, and increasing graduate access to employment then consideration should be given to internal mobility as well as international mobility.

It would be really interesting to explore further some of the approaches to internationalisation within Higher Education (not an area of specialism for me) and to identify whether similar approaches could be used in terms of internal mobility of students. Considering the mobilities of students generally (internal and international) may be beneficial for students and graduates from very rural and remote communities, but equally given increasing trends for students to study from home, mobility more generally may be an important issue for students all over the country.

References

Ball, C. (2012) ‘Regional Overview of Graduate Employment’, in HECSU, What do Graduates Do? Manchester; HECSU p.4

Diamond, Walkley, Forbes, Hughes and Sheen (2011) ‘Global Graduates: Global Graduates into Global Leaders’ Association of Graduate Recuiters

King, Skeldon and Vullnetari (2008) “Internal and International Migration: Bridging the Theoretical Divide”

 

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “International vs Internal Student Mobilities

  1. I have not thought about the fact that there was a difference, but now I think that of course there is a difference! The considerations involved in deciding to go to the mainland and going abroad must both differ and be similar at the same time, and seeing the difference is probably vital when making efforts to prevent brain drain. For instance, simply the need for a job is something else than globetrotting preferences, but what makes people come back in the long run might be the same feeling of belonging. Interesting point Rosie 🙂

    • 🙂 Thanks Ingrid. Yes it’s funny how I hadn’t really thought about the international migration literature until I read this article. And yes, quite a few differences, but similarities too. I actually just tweeted about a news story on an islander who is working in London (http://www.shetnews.co.uk/features/14378-from-cullivoe-to-contemporary-art-curator) I particularly like the fact that this article begins “In the second of our new series on Shetlanders living “abroad” and achieving good things” -which is a fantastic use of the word ‘abroad’ given this conversation!

  2. Oh goodness, was it 2011? I really need to get the new work published!

    Very very interesting post Rosie – I will catch up with the literature.

    • I know Charlie I can’t believe how time moves on! Having said that it was a typo, should be 2012 (using data from the 2010/11 DLHE) – corrected now. Would be great to catch up sometime, I fear I got a bit distracted by having a baby etc but am making it back to blogging, reading and thinking…! Hope all’s well with you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s