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The New Politics of Global Academic Mobility and Migration

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Edited By Fred Dervin and Regis Machart

This book brings together recent research on Global Academic Mobility and Migration (GAMM) from a variety of perspectives and contexts. There is now a widespread consensus that most countries and world regions are witnessing GAMM. Bringing together leading scholars from Australasia and Europe, this volume offers readers detailed account of the new politics of such acts of mobility and migration. The following key issues are dealt with: mobility determinants, social injustice, management and administrative problems, as well as teaching–learning challenges. The book invites students, researchers and practitioners to reflect further on the nature of today’s education on the move.
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“Talking Just About Learning Languages and Getting To Know Cultures is Something That’s Mentioned in Very Many Applications”: Student and Staff Imaginaries About Study Abroad

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Introduction

It has become a cliché to say that student mobility is now “systematic, dense, multiple and trans-national” (Kim, 2010), especially as researchers are increasingly critical as to who is allowed to move and where. Yet every institution of higher education has to play the internationalisation card today, with more or less success (Dervin & Machart, 2014). It is also a truism to claim that it is not a new phenomenon and that it has crossed the centuries. When one of the authors of this article was actively researching Erasmus students’ experiences in Finland, he checked the archives of the oldest university in this Nordic country and found at least 10 doctoral dissertations that had been written on the positive effects of student mobility in the 17th and 18th centuries (Dervin, 2008). Interestingly these dissertations, which were written in Latin, seemed to share a lot in common with the current discourses on student mobility. Though the words used differed (for example the notion of the ‘intercultural’ did not exist at the time), students are described as becoming more open-minded, being able to interact with the ‘culture’ of their hosts and to learn to speak the local language like a ‘native-speaker’. In current research on student mobility but also in the fields of applied linguistics and intercultural communication/education most of these elements are often questioned – though not coherently or systematically.

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