Foreign-Born Scholars in the UK and Their Integration into the Host Country: Comparative Analysis of the Experience of German and Russian Scientists

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Elena SAMARSKY, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Irina ANTOSHCHUK, European University at Saint Petersburg/ Saint Petersburg State Univerisity, Russia
Increasing internationalization of science is accompanied by the rising level of transnational cooperation and intensified academic migration and spatial mobility. Movement from one place and position to the other is considered not only a desirable but almost a necessary element of an academic career and is typically associated with higher scientific productivity and impact. As a result, science and higher education system in the research-leading nations such as United States and United Kingdom accommodate much greater number scholars from different regions across the world, and scientific community becomes much more heterogeneous in terms of cultural and ethnic background of its members. But under the pressure of the dominant discourse on scientific mobility as a highly valuable experience indispensable for the realization of one’s professional ambitions, the process of adaptation and integration of foreign-born scientists in the new academic environment is assumed to be smooth and unproblematic. In contrast, existing research reports that immigrant researchers encounter a variety of tensions and difficulties in moving and integrating into the host country. Studies also reveal that scientists of non-European origin generally experience more stress and hardships in migration to another country, but tend to explain it by reference to language and cultural distance between the host and home country. Thus, there is a lack of systematic and comparative analysis of the migration experience of European and non-European scholars in English-speaking destination countries. Our paper seeks to fill this gap by exploring the narratives of German and Russian scientists who live and work in the UK: we characterize and compare the difficulties they face, both in everyday life and professional activities, identify key similarities and differences, and address the question of the role of the home and host country context in shaping their migrant experience.