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Dr. Andrea Kölbel

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Globalisation, transformation, gender


Andrea completed her doctorate at the School of Geography and the Environment of the University of Oxford. For her doctoral research entitled “Youth, Aspiration, and Mobility: Young people debating their potential futures in Nepal”, she was awarded a Scatcherd European Scholarship in conjunction with an ESRC Studentship. Her findings are based on nine months of field research spent with young people in Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu.

Andrea also holds a dual postgraduate degree from the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and the Technical University of Freiberg, Germany. Her previous work includes research in the fields of business economics, management and public policy.


Teaching and Research Experiences

Andrea teaches and supervises mainly students studying for a bachelor’s degree in Geographical Sciences. At the Freie Universität Berlin, she runs seminars as part of the module “Introduction to Human Geography”. At the University of Oxford, Andrea taught on contemporary India and young people’s geographies.

She successfully completed a training course on teaching and learning support in higher education and is accredited as an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

As part of her previous research activities, Andrea initiated and co-organised an interdisciplinary research group on childhood and youth based at the University of Oxford and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. She has been a visiting scholar of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies of the University of Copenhagen and has worked as a research assistant for the Center for Policy Studies at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary.


Professional Experiences

Andrea has extensive experiences in the fields of international education, refugee protection and development assistance.

As an education expert for the UN Refugee Agency, she led and coordinated education programmes in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. She completed traineeships with the German Embassy in Rabat, Morocco and an EU consultancy in Brussels, Belgium focusing on the areas of human rights, education, international cooperation and social affairs. As an international consultant working for a non-profit organisation in Kathmandu, Andrea was responsible for the planning and evaluation of community-based projects in rural regions of Nepal.

In her work as a human geographer, Andrea builds upon her specific interests in social and spatial (im)mobilities, imagined geographies, young people’s lives, international and forced migration, social theory and participative research methods.

In particular, she engages with the interdisciplinary debate about the social implications of enhanced levels of mobility by focusing on people’s experiences of education and work. She recently completed a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council which investigates what young people’s attempts to map out educational and occupational pathways reveal about their understanding of self and their role in wider society. At present, Andrea conducts research into the internationalisation of education and the imagined geographies related to this process. She is also interested in understanding processes of ‘othering’ and self-positioning in the context of forced migration and social integration.

Conferences and Publications

Kölbel, A. (forthcoming). A history of higher education in Nepal: From urban elitism to global aspirations. In Letchamanan, H. et al., eds. Education in South Asia and the Indian Ocean Islands. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.

Kölbel, A. (2015). Youth, Aspiration, and Mobility: Young people debating their potential futures in Nepal. Doctoral Thesis. University of Oxford.

Kölbel, A. (2013) (De)valuing higher education: educated youth, generational differences and a changing educational landscape in Kathmandu, Nepal. Comparative Education, 49(3): 331-343. [Link zum Verleger/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03050068.2013.803751]

Kölbel, A. (2013) Unravelling young people's future aspirations. RGS-IBG Annual International Conference. London. August 30, 2013.

Kölbel, A. (2013) Nepal's change agents: educated youth and their involvements in the local labour market. Annual Kathmandu Conference on Nepal and the Himalaya. Kathmandu. July 24, 2013.

Kölbel, A. (2013) Working students: negotiating career aspirations, social expectations and economic needs in Kathmandu. Britain-Nepal Academic Council Study Day. Edinburgh. April 19, 2013.

Kölbel, A. (2012) Reaching for abroad: students' aspirations and realities in Kathmandu, Nepal. International Conference on Geographies of Education. Loughborough. September 10, 2012.