Connecting with family, friends and others

Informal caregiving among international postgraduate researchers in a British University


  • I Lin Sin Independent Scholar
  • Alina Schartner Newcastle University



care, postgraduate research, pandemic, United Kingdom, mental health, social networks, wellbeing


This article casts light on informal caregiving, an essential aspect of the international postgraduate researcher (PGR) experience, but which is often invisible in literature and discourses on international education. Drawing from qualitative semi-structured interviews with international PGRs in a British university, it highlights their dual role as care recipients and lesser known caregivers across transnational and local spaces. It gives insights into the forms and dynamics of care that they give to and receive from family, friends and others, uncovering the emotional and affective aspects of undertaking a postgraduate research degree overseas which impact on their mental wellbeing. The findings have implications for the improvement of university support for international PGRs which has relevance for the wider international student community.

Author Biographies

I Lin Sin, Independent Scholar

I LIN SIN, PhD, is a sociologist based in Glasgow, United Kingdom. She has conducted numerous research on in/equality, dis/advantage, ex/inclusion and wellbeing primarily in the areas of transnational mobility and international education. Her research is centred on the needs, perspectives and lived experiences of diverse and under-represented groups in the UK, Malaysia and transnational settings. Email:

Alina Schartner, Newcastle University

ALINA SCHARTNER, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences (ECLS), Newcastle University, where she teaches and researches intercultural communication. Her research interests include the experiences of internationally mobile groups, in particular adjustment and adaptation of international students. E-mail:


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How to Cite

Sin, I. L., & Schartner, A. (2023). Connecting with family, friends and others: Informal caregiving among international postgraduate researchers in a British University . Journal of International Students, 14(4).



Research Articles