Mobile Study / Mobile Selves


Associate Professor Fran Martin


Future Fellowship project, ARC


2015 - 2020


Australia is among the world’s top destinations for international students, with around 1 in 5 undergraduate students enrolling in Australian universities now being international. China is by far Australia’s largest source of international students, and over half of these students are women. Mobile Study / Mobile Selves is a 5-year study being conducted by Associate Professor Fran Martin as a Future Fellowship project funded by the ARC (FT 140100222, 2015 - 2020). A/Prof Martin is conducting in-depth ethnographic research with a group of 50 female students from China who are studying at universities in Melbourne. From before their departure from China through to their postgraduate destinations, the study is building a picture of how these young women’s time in Australia affects both their gendered and their national-cultural identity. Who are these women when they arrive in Australia - and who do they become? This project seeks to test the hypothesis that young Chinese women’s experiences while studying abroad significantly affect their negotiation of the tensions between familial versus individual and national versus transnational identity: two sets of contradictions that centrally define the current generation of Chinese urban women’s sense of identity.

Martin CZheng Image

Images copyright C. Zheng, used with permission.