In migration scholarship, the role of social networks has been well-established in people's decisions on whether to migrate and where to migrate to. Recently, international student mobility literature has shown that networks, parental aspirations and socio-economic background play an important role in an individual's study-abroad decisions. Over the past few decades many countries, including Germany and the United States, have witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of international students applying to universities, with the majority coming from China.
Based on personal network analysis and qualitative interviews with Chinese international students enrolled at elite universities in Germany and in the US, Başak Bilecen will compare and contrast how networks effect study abroad decisions. She will show that these decisions are based on the networks of the individual students as well as their country of origin and the educational institutions.