Keyu Zhai



Research title

Social mobility and international graduates in China

Research summary

Subject Area: International students; Migration, mobility and education; Youth studies; Social mobility


Research title: Social Mobility of International Graduates in China 

Nowadays, in China, unequal educational opportunities and intergenerational inheritance of social status have weakened the function of education in promoting social mobility. Meanwhile the rapid growth in studying abroad has emerged as a potential avenue in promoting social mobility. Most research of China’s student returnee mainly focuses on their motivations for international mobility and labour market result after they returning to China, but a few efforts have been made to explore their social mobility after their returning to China. How is social mobility of international graduates compared to their peers? Have they achieved what they want through international mobility?

My doctoral research focuses on social mobility of international graduates, linking the international education to general patterns of social transformation currently occurring in China. Through mixed research – online survey and qualitative interviewing, spatial analysis, statistical modeling and thematic analysis my research looks at the dynamics and factors influencing social mobility. 



2016-2019: Doctoral research funding, China Scholarship Council (CSC). 


1. 2019 June 26-28, Social mobility of international graduates in China, paper presentation at 16thAnnual IMISCO Conference: Understanding International Migration in the 21stCentury: Conceptual and Methodological Approaches, Malmo University, Sweden. 

Additional information

 2016----     PhD candidate, School of Education, University of Glasgow

2015-2016  MA in Education, IoE, University College London 

2011-2015  BA in English, China University of Mining & Technology 

                   Minor in Finance, China University of Mining & Technology