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Living the dream? University students in mobile times
journal contributionposted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ros BlackRos Black, L Walsh
© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Geographic mobility shapes the present experience and imagined futures of many young university students. Strong associations between higher education and youth mobility relate both to young people’s relocation to gain qualifications and to ideas about being young. This paper draws on data from a recent study to reflect on how mobility features within the experience and imagined futures of 30 university students in Australia, the UK and France. Looking at influences ranging from the role of families to wider economic and geopolitical developments, this deep-dive investigation suggests that this mobility can be located within three spatio-temporal scales introduced by the authors: microfutures, which encompass those aspects of young people’s imagined futures that arise from their immediate life-worlds; mesofutures, which pertain to events and forces that are within the visible horizons of their lives but beyond their influence; and macrofutures, or the kinds of geopolitical constellations that are global in nature but loom over individual lives. It suggests that university students are using higher education to craft their own mobile microfutures but that they also have fears and concerns about possible meso- and macrofutures beyond their control.