Safe Spaces for Disruptive Learning in a North–South Research Partnership Context: International Mobility of Doctoral Students

Trechsel, Lilian Julia; Zimmermann, Anne Barbara; Steinböck, Camilla; Breu, Thomas; Herweg, Karl; Thieme, Susan (2021). Safe Spaces for Disruptive Learning in a North–South Research Partnership Context: International Mobility of Doctoral Students. Sustainability, 13(4), p. 2413. MDPI 10.3390/su13042413

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This article spans issues of international student mobility, inequalities in higher education, and spaces for transformative learning for sustainable development. We tracked PhD alumni of an international Swiss research program in 2012 and 2017 and found that students from the global South experienced a significant, immediate career boost; most graduates decided to remain in or return to their country of origin after graduation (brain circulation). Career advancement among global North students took longer to develop. In-depth interviews with selected graduates gave students a voice: they felt empowered by networks, new friendships, and working relationships across disciplinary boundaries. The “safe spaces” or “Third Spaces” created in the program—encompassing inter- and transdisciplinary approaches, institutional and cultural diversity, and a real-world focus—were key for transformative learning, supported by an unconventional teaching and research strategy. To support disruptive learning leading to changes in mindsets and to reduce inequality in higher education, Western universities must question their own privileged position.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Trechsel, Lilian Julia; Zimmermann, Anne; Steinböck, Camilla Maria; Breu, Thomas Michael; Herweg, Karl Günter and Thieme, Susan

Subjects:

900 History > 910 Geography & travel

ISSN:

2071-1050

Publisher:

MDPI

Language:

English

Submitter:

Melina Gabriela Weiss

Date Deposited:

25 Feb 2021 16:59

Last Modified:

28 Feb 2021 02:57

Publisher DOI:

10.3390/su13042413

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/152725

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/152725

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