International Student Mobility and Transnational Friendships by Ba?ak Bilecen

By Ba?ak Bilecen

Acquaintances play an important position in overseas scholars' lives. This e-book explores the features of the friendship networks of foreign doctoral scholars via analysing the relationships among those scholars and their acquaintances, either within the state of schooling and throughout a number of nationwide borders.

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Extra info for International Student Mobility and Transnational Friendships

Sample text

International friends in Germany, which refers to other international students with whom the interviewees do not share the same nationality and study, whether in the same graduate school or in another city in Germany (termed ‘international friends’); 4. international friends abroad, which refers to those transnational friends with whom the interviewees do not share nationality and who are located in another country and studying for a degree in a country other than their country of origin (termed ‘transnational international friends’).

Nonetheless, in one way or another, some underlying processes such as emotions, reciprocity and trust, and solidarity form the backbone of these particular friendship relations. Scholars in sociology and anthropology acknowledge friendship as an important topic for analysis, particularly given the rapid changes in today’s society. So far, relatively little is known about the meaning of friendship in our contemporary world. Nowadays, it is common to see people sitting alone at tables at cafés, holding their smartphones and chatting with their friends online while checking their e-mails or reading the latest news.

Having friends and other socially significant relationships embedded in a straightforward and quite limited geographical space curtails the multi-dimensionality of social interactions. In today’s digital age, considering geographical proximity alone runs the risk of leading researchers to an ecological fallacy. Equally important, it is overly simplistic to assume that communication regardless of modality can maintain friendships at distance. Depending on the type of technology used to maintain friendships, the mode of interaction differs and so does the content of the communication, which needs further elaboration.

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