Migration and Diasporas
As universities face continuing budget cuts in the aftermath of the Great Recession, they increasingly turn to international students who pay higher tuition fees. Students, too, are vying to launch themselves into a global future through their increasingly mobile trajectories by pursuing overseas study. The goal of this paper is to bring to the fore the interconnections between institutional and individual agency in the globalization of higher education. I examine how a public university in California navigates financial constraints and uncertain political conditions by increasing tuition and accepting a greater proportion of higher fee-paying international students. Meanwhile, against the backdrop of a larger phenomenon of study abroad among Korean students, I situate the pathways and experiences of Korean students who arrive at a public university in California through traditional and nontraditional avenues, including as early study abroad and community college transfer students, in pursuit of higher learning and cosmopolitan capital facilitated by revenue-generating mechanisms within the California public higher education system. The data for this study comes from the University of California, Berkeley, where I conducted in-depth interviews with 20+ students from South Korea, a country where young people have been pursuing overseas study in the United States at almost unparalleled rates since the early 1990s. My discussions contribute to a growing body of literature that positions the university not as a passive respondent to globalization but a major player that proactively shapes global processes and creates new patterns of student mobility.