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Suzanne Beech

<p>Suzanne Beech</p>

Suzanne Beech


BSc (2.1 Hons) Geography with Extended Studies in Europe (2009)




Room 02011, Elmwood Building
School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


028 9097 5283

Current Research: Society, Space and Culture

The Geographies of Higher Education Mobility: How International Students Choose Where to Study

Governmental reforms, dating from the 1980s, have encouraged universities to seek out new markets for potential students, including from overseas. Additionally, since 1992, traditional, red-brick universities have been forced to compete for funding with new universities and former polytechnics. Recruitment of these ‘new’ students has thus assumed economic primacy in many universities' policies, particularly over the last decade. Increased enrolment of international students can provide further funding sources and, importantly, other cultural benefits to the universities who wish to exploit this area. The expansion of the Erasmus scheme and rapid commercialisation of South America, China and Asia have provided the opportunity to do so. Furthermore, the shift towards a European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by 2010 through the Bologna Process will further increase opportunities for international student mobility.

Despite the global universality of this shift and the massive potential economic benefits to host countries, our understanding of the decision-making processes of potential international students is thin. In an increasingly competitive international market place, countries and HEIs that know what students are looking for in terms of intellectual reputation and understand the imaginative geographies involved in their decision making processes will increase their competitive advantage. My research attempts to address this lacuna by identifying and understanding the decisive factors in international students choosing one country and institution over another. This involves an examination of the ways in which these students develop geographical ‘knowledge’ about potential host countries and cities and how this knowledge is mobilised in their decision-making processes.


Prof Steve Royle
Dr Alastair Ruffell


'Friends, Family and Acquaintances: The Role of Social Networks in International Student Decision Making', 2nd International Conference on Geographies of Education, Loughborough University, September 2012

'International Student Decision Making: The Role of Friendship and Kinship Networks', International Geographical Congress, Cologne, August 2012.

'International student mobility and the role of social networks', RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, University of Edinburgh, July 2012

'Overseas study as cultural enrichment: The geographies of student mobility', Popfest 2012, Loughborough University, June 2012

'The individualistic student?  Social Networks as a motivating factor for study overseas', School of GAP Thursday Evening Seminar Series, Belfast, May 2012

'Choosing where to study: international students' perceptions of place', RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London, September 2011 

'Place and its role in international student decision making', Young People's Mobilities and International Education, British Sociological Association, London, June 2011

'The Decision Making Geographies of International Students: Towards an Analysis', Geographie(s) of education in European border regions: the making and breaking of (b)orders?, Conference, University of Flensburg, Germany, May 2010

Professional Memberships

Postgraduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Additional Information:

Recipient of the GAP 75th Anniversary Prize (2010)