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Accepted Paper:

Imagining a future in-between: transnational desires among Indian students in Australia  
Michiel Baas (University of Amsterdam)

Paper long abstract:

In the past two decades the number of Indian overseas students in Australia has increased from 378 in 1991 to 96,000 in 2009. Indian students do not only choose Australia for the quality of its education but also because they will be able to apply for permanent residency (PR) after graduation. Yet Australia is not simply understood as an end destination; these students often imagine a PR to be a way to become transnationally mobile. I frame this in the concept of imagined mobility which refers to the idea that increasingly people imagine themselves living the kind of transnational lives that they have seen others doing. Living between and beyond borders, being grounded in multiple locations, never quite committing to one, has become increasingly an appealing/desirable life strategy/style. Recent racist attacks on students in Australia have caused students to rethink their own place in the world however and have raised attention to the issue that many of them do not realize their dreams but end up in typical lowly-paid migrant jobs. This paper will investigate what this means for their self-image and outward appearance to others.

Panel W036
Aspiring migrants, local crises, and the imagination of futures 'away from home'
  Session 1