Paola Ribeiro Seabra Eiras

Postdoc ved afdeling for pædagogisk antropologi. Per 1/3/21. Campus Emdrup


I am a new postdoctoral fellow in the Geographies of Internationalisation project ( at DPU. I have recently been awarded a PhD in Sociology of HE, in which I explored cultural identity constructions of Chinese students in a transnational university in mainland China. By unpacking students’ experiences, this research focused on how transnational spaces can impact on students’ transforming self-perceptions and experiences. This ongoing process of identity construction may have a profound impact on how these students see themselves as HE students and youth, and their place in the world into the future.   

With a background in both the biomedical field and linguistics, I have been studying and working in transnational spaces for more than a decade. I am originally from Brazil, and have been an Australian citizen for 10 years now. I started my transnational experience as a student of veterinary medicine, when I first moved to the UK in 1995. Different cultural, study and work experiences since then have allowed for the deconstruction of my educational background, and they have shaped a varied career from biomedicine to the social sciences today. This interdisciplinary background built in different countries has allowed me to navigate diverse epistemological and ontological positions when undertaking research, through which I have developed a wide range of academic, linguistic and cultural skills. 

Living and working in Australia and China, and more recently in the UK again for my doctoral studies, has shed light on numerous strategies to negotiate power relationships as an international student, when challenging learning and teaching assumptions in ‘international spaces’. This has enabled my socio-cultural positioning within the larger academic community as a transnational staff member in a transformative process of becoming. 

I look forward to engaging with the Geographies of Internationalisation project participants (, focusing my efforts on making valuable contributions to the research project and DPU/Aarhus University. Specifically, I will be looking into the role of languages in the construction of international spaces during teaching, learning and socialization practices in three Danish HE institutions. Some of the questions I aim to address are: a) How do domestic and international students perceive quality and relevance of knowledge and cultural experience in internationalised Danish HE institutions? b) How can a spatial analytical approach shift the focus from the physical presence of international students and staff (as one of the internationalisation tools) to the relevance of transnational and cultural spaces in the curriculum and interpersonal relationships?