Vera Spangler

Postgraduate Research Student


My research project

My qualifications

First State Examination for the Teaching Profession at Primary School Level
University of Education, Freiburg, Germany
MA in Anthropology of Education and Globalisation
Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark


Spangler, V. and Adriansen, H.K. (2021) Space, place and internationalisation of higher education: Exploring everyday social practices in the ‘international’ classroom
The aim of this paper is to use a spatial approach to tease out implicit understandings of what is perceived as the ‘good’ student, the ‘right’ pedagogies and ‘legitimate’ knowledge in higher education internationalisation practices. We do so by attending to the social practices in the ‘international’ classroom and explore how such practices are shaped and impacted by students' various backgrounds, educational paths, prior knowledges and at the same time by structural, cultural and national characteristics of the host institution and the lecturers teaching there. The paper combines both lecturers' and students' perspectives and details the complex relationality of people and places connected through movement and performances of internationalisation. Inspired by critical internationalisation studies, we demonstrate how everyday practices and discourses in the ‘international’ classroom produce and reproduce global inequalities; thereby, we show some of the uneven geographies of higher education internationalisation.
Spangler, V. (2022) Home here and there: a spatial perspective on mobile experiences of ‘home’ among international students
This paper examines the relationship between student mobility and identity by exploring the meaning of ‘home’ and homemaking processes among international students. It unpacks students’ complex web of relations within and between places, across space and in time, and illustrates how students’ family homes, familiar places and home society inform and shape the students’ existence and ‘becoming’ while they are abroad. Applying a spatial approach, this paper exhibits that international students’ involvement is a spatial homemaking process that connects home as sensory everyday practices and experiences and home as a place of origin. Both relationships in distance and proximity are necessary and important elements in practices of homemaking processes among international students. By examining space relationally, the narratives of the students show a significant refiguring of an embodied self, concurrently highlighting the relational construction of the identity of place. The empirical findings of this paper bring new dimensions, such as the spatial, geographical, sensory, and affective nature of mobile belongings, to the research on youth mobility and internationalisation of higher education.
Adriansen, H.K.; Juul-Wiese, T.; Madsen, L.M.; Saarinen, T; Spangler, V. and Waters, J. (2022) Emplacing English as lingua franca in international higher education: A spatial perspective on linguistic diversity
Within higher education, internationalisation is increasingly important for students and academics alike. In this context, English as the  has gained prominence. The ostensible ubiquity of English rests on a particular rendering of the language as unitary, fixed, and undifferentiated. In this paper, we challenge this notion of English and use a spatial approach to explore the multiplicity of Englishes on display within the higher education context. Increasingly, within higher education outside Anglophone countries, English Medium Instruction (EMI) is seen as a crucial indicator of internationalisation: the term ‘international programmes' is often used as a proxy for programmes taught in English. Hence, the aim of this paper is to explore the role of English in internationalisation of higher education, and to show how a spatial approach can illuminate what English means and how it is experienced in its multiple and shifting forms. We examine Danish higher education to explore the multiple usages of English amongst so-called ‘native' and ‘nonnative' speakers and show the spatial and hierarchical complexity of language. We suggest that a spatial perspective on English in the context of international higher education can help nuance debates about internationalisation and language in important ways – there is not one, but multiple forms of English, displayed at different times and in different places, with differing effects in the creation of spatial hierarchies.
lingua franca
Spangler, V.; Madsen, L.M. and Adriansen, H.K. (2022) Unpacking the ‘international’ in international academic mobility
Academic mobility is often perceived as an important part of the internationalisation of higher education. Universities increasingly put effort into attracting international academics as part of their internationalisation strategies. Yet, research within internationalisation has largely focused on international student mobility, internationalisation of the curriculum, and internationalisation as a policy field. International academics’ experiences of working and living in foreign countries are still under-researched. Drawing on qualitative interview data with 20 globally mobile academics, we aim to understand what and who the ‘international’ represents and how it is constructed in international academic mobility. Herein, we question and unravel the critical and challenging use of the terminology ‘international’. Our findings show how globally mobile scholars understand what it means to be an ‘international academic’ in different places. The empirical accounts bring to the forefront aspects of who counts as international and what it takes to be recognised as ‘being international’.
Saarinen, T.; Etzkorn, N.; Spangler, V.; Adriansen, H.K.; Eiras, P. and Madsen; L.M. (2021) Approaching ”Meaningful” Internationalisation
This paper explores five cases of internationalisation of higher education from Denmark, Finland and Germany through a lense of meaningfulness. Meaningful often refers to something that has significance, relevance, purpose, or value. Just like the ideas of a meaningful university, internationalisation of higher education is contested terrain. For the past decades, internationalisation has been a buzzword in university strategies. However, in an era with Brexit and neo-national tendencies in many European countries and the USA, internationalisation through mobility and language (English Medium Instruction) has come under pressure. Contradictory political signals regarding student mobility, language of instruction, and other ‘instruments’ of internationalisation call for critical research into how internationalisation is conducted and experienced by stakeholders. Across the five cases, we explore contemporary complexities of internationalisation and discuss what makes internationalisation meaningful, how and for whom. An observation that permeates all five cases is the relationality of meaningfulness of internationalisation.
Waters, J.; Saarinen, T.; Adriansen, H.K.; Spangler, V.; Madsen, L.M. and Juul-Wiese, T. (2021) Problematising English as Lingua Franca in Higher Education Internationalisation
This work-in-progress, we use a spatial perspective to explore ‘English’ in higher education internationalisation. Being geographically mobile and ‘international’ has become important for students and academics in higher education wherein English as a lingua franca has gained importance. Outside the Anglo-Saxon countries, offering English Medium Instruction (EMI) is often seen as a crucial indicator of internationalisation from an institutional perspective. This is to the extent where ‘international programmes’ come to mean programmes taught in English. Denmark is a case in point. We use Danish higher education as a case to explore the multiple usages of English amongst so-called native and non-native speakers. Linguistic diversity is not just about speaking multiple languages, but about speaking the ostensibly same language in different ways, in different ‘places’, and with different societal outcomes. The paper shows that the notion of English as lingua franca in higher education creates hierarchies of people and disciplines.