Global representations of international students in a time of crisis: A qualitative analysis of Twitter data during COVID-19

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Abstract

International students have been historically valued by universities for their contributions to their host countries. Yet, representations of international students in the general public have become increasingly mixed, an issue likely exacerbated by COVID-19, which has shown increased hostility towards international students. Given the increased reports of discrimination during this period, there is ongoing need to understand how international students have been represented in this specific time of crisis. Our study analysed public representations of international students through Twitter data and qualitative analysis of 6,501 posts made during the immediate COVID-19 crisis (January-April 2020). Our findings confirm competing public representations of international students that changed over time: initially through stereotyping and depictions as assumed disease carriers, shifting to empathy and support after university campus closures. We also outline themes of racism and discrimination, which are of importance for the global higher education sector as we move into a post-COVID world.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Studies in Sociology of Education
Early online date24 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • international students
  • higher education
  • representations
  • COVID-19
  • social media

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities

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