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Countering stuckness: international doctoral students' experiences of disrupted mobility amidst COVID-19

Phan, Anh Ngoc Quynh, Pham, Linh Thi Thuy, Ngo, Ha Ngan (2023) Countering stuckness: international doctoral students' experiences of disrupted mobility amidst COVID-19. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, . (doi:10.1080/02188791.2023.2175349) (KAR id:102977)


The paper, through the lens of positioning and agency theories, examines the experiences of being stranded in the home country due to the restricted mobility caused by the COVID-19 pandemic of 10 international doctoral students of different nationalities (Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and Indian), majoring in different disciplines (Education, Linguistics, Applied linguistics, Economics, Public health, and Civil engineering), and studying in different countries (New Zealand, Australia, and the United States). With an aim to explore the abrupt immobility and its subsequent impacts on the students’ learning, the article highlights the challenges that the students had to tackle including the feelings of being in limbo, nostalgia, and detachment, and faced with academic challenges due to the physical distance from the study destination. Accordingly, they had to self-position and reposition themselves and enact different forms of agency to confront the difficulties, including agency for becoming, needs-response agency, and agency as struggle and resistance. The findings highlight how the international PhD students mobilized resources to develop their independence as future researchers, as well as their connection with the academic communities in their home countries in various ways.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/02188791.2023.2175349
Subjects: L Education
Divisions: Divisions > Directorate of Education > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Funders: University of Auckland (
Depositing User: Ngoc Quynh Anh Phan
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2023 17:33 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 01:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Phan, Anh Ngoc Quynh.

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