1st Edition

Student Migration from Eastern to Western Europe

By Mette Ginnerskov-Dahlberg Copyright 2022

    This book explores European student migration from the perspectives of Eastern European students moving to Western Europe for study.

    Whilst most research on student migration in Europe focuses on the experiences of Western European students, this book uniquely casts a light on Eastern European student migrants moving to the ‘West’. Mette Ginnerskov-Dahlberg deploys a novel approach to the subject by drawing on insights gleaned from a longitudinal study of master's students pursuing an education abroad and their multifaceted journeys after graduation. Thereby, she brings their narratives to life and highlights the changes and continuities they experienced over a period of seven years, fostering an understanding of student mobility as an activity enmeshed with adult commitments and long-term aspirations. Using Denmark as a case study of a host country, Ginnerskov-Dahlberg analyses the trajectories of these students and situates their experiences within the wider socio-historical context of Eastern European post-socialism and the contemporary dynamics between EU and non-EU citizens in the welfare state of Denmark – reflecting issues playing out on the global stage today.

    This book will be a valuable resource for students and scholars of migration and mobility studies, as well as human geography, sociology, higher education, area studies and anthropology.

    1. Introduction

    2. Methodology and Analytical Tools

    3. ‘Go West!’ Eastern European Students’ Motivations for Pursuing an Education in Denmark

    4. ‘Thrivers’ And ‘Dead Guys’: The Lives of Eastern European Students in The West

    5. Should I Stay or Should I Go? The Social and Geographical Trajectories of Eastern European Graduates

    6. Conclusion



    Mette Ginnerskov-Dahlberg is a senior lecturer and a researcher associated to the research unit Sociology of Education and Culture (SEC) at Uppsala University, Sweden.

    "Based on a detailed ethnography of students from Eastern Europe in Denmark, this book makes a major contribution to the growing literature on student migration. It challenges the myth that international students are a privileged elite and unveils their complex and precarious journeys as students, workers and graduates, as well as their transition from youth to adulthood." 

    Russell King, School of Global Studies, University of Sussex, UK

    "Based on engaging ethnographic accounts, this book offers a very timely contribution to the field of international student mobility, scholarly and politically. Through its nuanced and historically anchored analysis of new regional flows of student migrants, it compels us to rethink dominant ideas of contemporary student migration and more broadly fundamental dynamics between mobility and immobility."

    Karen Valentin, Associate Professor, the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark

    "This book makes an extremely valuable and timely intervention into increasingly vibrant debates around the internationalisation of higher education and international student mobility. Drawing on longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork over a number of years to construct the experiences and narratives of students, the book proffers a compelling and original argument around their mobility from Eastern to Western Europe. It is a must-read for all scholars working in this area."

    Johanna L. Waters, Professor of Human Geography, University College London, UK