Travelling academics. Global citizens or short-term visitors? A focus on cosmopolitanism and identity construction amongst foreign PhD students and postdocs in Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Nowadays, mobility is increasingly becoming a requirement for an academic career. Scientists work at different universities in different countries to gain experience. Apart from encountering a different working environment, they also need to adapt to a new society with a different culture. These changes have an impact on someone’s life. Travelling academics are often portrayed as cosmopolitans, but is this truly the case? This research aims to answer this question by interviewing eleven PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, working at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. The respondents all had cosmopolitan experiences and this influenced their identity construction. Although the respondents might share some characteristics, this does not mean that their identities will develop along the same lines. The analysis shows that cosmopolitanism is not one of the main aspects of their identity construction. Other aspects like culture, nationality, citizenship and a social network turn out to be more important for their identity construction. They might become global citizens, but they still value local attachment. It makes them feel like they belong somewhere and it makes them feel at home.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen