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Open AccessArticle

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

1
Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
2
Institute of Geography, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Eila Jeronen
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2413; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042413
Received: 31 December 2020 / Revised: 2 February 2021 / Accepted: 15 February 2021 / Published: 23 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: education for sustainable development; interdisciplinary approach; international student mobility; alumni; North–South; Third Space education for sustainable development; interdisciplinary approach; international student mobility; alumni; North–South; Third Space
MDPI and ACS Style

Trechsel, L.J.; Zimmermann, A.B.; Steinböck, C.; Breu, T.; Herweg, K.; Thieme, S. Safe Spaces for Disruptive Learning in a North–South Research Partnership Context: International Mobility of Doctoral Students. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2413. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042413

AMA Style

Trechsel LJ, Zimmermann AB, Steinböck C, Breu T, Herweg K, Thieme S. Safe Spaces for Disruptive Learning in a North–South Research Partnership Context: International Mobility of Doctoral Students. Sustainability. 2021; 13(4):2413. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042413

Chicago/Turabian Style

Trechsel, Lilian J.; Zimmermann, Anne B.; 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, no. 4: 2413. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042413

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Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

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