Digital Migration in India.

Sazana is a Research Fellow on the Eurostudents project. She is also conducting research on the increasingly important role of social media in facilitating student mobility from India.

She has recently completed a project focused on postgraduate-level student migration from India to Germany. The study draws on interviews with Indians currently studying in Germany and a digital ethnography of mutual-help groups on Facebook and WhatsApp, which bring together prospective international students from across India who are interested in studying in Germany. Sazana’s research shows how these groups have resulted in the production of a whole new body of information, tools, and resources on how to navigate the process of going to Germany for a Master’s degree and are now a key part of the infrastructure mediating Indian student mobility. It argues that the communities created through these groups can be seen as democratising access to study abroad, to some extent, by dramatically expanding applicants’ social networks.

Developing on this research, Sazana conducted a study of how the Covid-19 crisis is impacting Indians’ plans to study for a postgraduate degree in Germany, and how Indians currently studying in Germany have been affected. She has presented this research to the German Academic Exchange Service and to the representatives of German universities.

Sazana is currently developing a project about Indian ‘Study Abroad’ YouTube channels. Run by Indian international students or recent graduates, these channels offer Indians interested in studying abroad detailed information on the application process, universities, work prospects, and life abroad. With large and loyal followings, these YouTubers have emerged as important ‘influencers’ among Indians planning to study abroad. The project will explore the ways in which these channels are disrupting how information about study abroad is produced and circulated and how ‘expertise’ is conceptualised and constructed.

By Dr Sazana Jayadeva, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.