“Uneasy belonging in the mobility capsule: Erasmus Mundus students in the European Higher Education Area”, Karolina Czerska-Shaw, Ewa Krzaklewska (IES, Poland)

Taking Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters students as exemplifications of the intensification of mobility in educational trajectories, this article considers their modes of belonging in super-mobility. Their educational experiences take place within a consortium of universities, necessitating intensive and routinized collective movement to multiple locations. This novel way of practising mobility within higher education calls for new frames to describe the distinctiveness of the super-mobility experience and how belonging is enacted and reflected in this transnational space. It aligns itself with the critical approach to hypermobility, especially with regard to its impact on mental well-being. Through an empirical, multi-year qualitative study of student experiences, we propose a new concept of the mobility capsule as both a meso-level structure and a particular way of practicing mobility which implies a transnational group experience, usually organised within an institutional framework of studies. Our results show that the experience of the mobility capsule is characterised by intense speed, routine uprootedness and cosmopolitan social closure. These features weigh heavily on the construction of personal and group belonging and have particular consequences for well-being. We conclude with a critique of such institutional set ups given the persistent glorification of hypermobility.