University of Sussex
Sondhi,_Gunjan.pdf (2.7 MB)

Gendering international student mobility: an Indian case study

Download (2.7 MB)
posted on 2023-06-08, 15:37 authored by Gunjan Sondhi
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.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • Geography Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager