Transnational career agents : A comparative study on international engineering students in Sweden

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik

Abstract: The mobility of students has increased dramatically in the past decades which primarily is a consequence of globalization (Ninnes & Hellstén, 2005). Many higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world have responded to the global educational trend by actively recruiting students from abroad, with the incentive of maintaining a competitive position on the global, knowledge-based market (Knight, 2004). Simultaneously, an increasing number of students have responded to the expanded opportunities which have become available, aspiring to secure the best education to facilitate their path into a well-remunerated career (Waters & Brooks, 2011). By employing a qualitative research approach, this study explores how international degree-seeking students undertaking engineering studies in Swedish HE, take on their career development within a global framework. The findings are compared and analyzed in order to provide further insights into the career trajectories of engineering students from different countries. The findings suggest that the participants in the study have employed a large degree of agency and independence in advancing their career development further. Moreover, it has also been indicated that they, as global professionals, uphold a flexible stance towards future career opportunities, regardless of where in the world these would be located. Considering the increasing numbers of international students that occupy Swedish HEIs, the study concludes that further attention needs to be paid to gain further insights into the realities of this student population, both to increase our understanding of how they respond to the forces of globalization and to safeguard that career services address the real career needs of this population.

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