The intersectional geographies of international students in Ireland: Connecting spaces of encounter and belonging

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International students are often perceived as a singular, homogenous group. While accounts of their mobility and their encounters with others have addressed their racialised experiences of the university, the intersection of other axes of difference remain under-explored. Using an intersectional lens, I direct attention to international students’ differentiated experiences of university sport and society spaces, with a particular focus on their gender, religion, and nationality. Using survey and interview data with international students, students’ own narratives give voice to their complex subjectivities that have so far been lacking in the student literature. These aspects of their identity structure their access to such spaces, and the outcomes of their encounters with others therein. I propose that these sites of encounter must not be considered in isolation from one another, but rather that considering spaces of encounter as connected and inter-linked demonstrates how social capital is developed, consolidated and deployed through participation in the traditional student activities that normalise a narrow and heteronormative ideal of studenthood across and between sites. Recognising the relational nature of spaces of encounter reveals the obstacles that exist to greater opportunity for female students’ participation in university and social life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1460-1480
Number of pages21
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number10
Early online date12 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 02 Oct 2020


  • encounter
  • international students
  • intersectionality
  • university
  • belonging
  • gender
  • exclusion
  • Belonging
  • religion


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