PhD Research Profile


I’m Emmanuel Johnson. I am a Cultural thinker, filmmaker, Christian and Poet. I am a 2nd year PhD student at Global Learning: Education and Attainment (GLEA). My research explores lived experiences of international students, using themes of faith, identity, belonging and performance as key focal points into this phenomenon. This shall make the basis for this written post.

It all started in Abuja, Nigeria for me, which is where I was born – on 12 November 1994. Being a PhD student at 24 years of age means I get called both young and ‘old’, depending on who I speak to. I find that very interesting!

Though I was born in Abuja, my family left the city only a few months later, as we relocated to Lagos, Nigeria. We spent a couple of years there and moved again to Uyo, Nigeria, which is also my ancestral city (where both of my parents and their great-grand parents and more hail from). In 2012, at the age of 17, I made my own relocation to Cambridge, UK, for University foundation study at EF Cambridge. I was enrolled in an international school with students from over 60 countries. A year later at 18 years of age, I started studying Media and Communications at Coventry University. Through this course, I started to learn that ‘things aren’t really as they appear to be in the world’. These experiences of sojourn, and their consequent sub-experiences, kick-started something that would later become very relevant to me, which is ‘the reality of internationalisation’.

The reality of internationalisation has become personalised to me. From my experience, this reality entails: not really having a physical/tangible sense of ‘home’ which is fixed, to hold onto; always being in a state which sees you missing someone who is physically elsewhere; being seen as ‘different’ by those of similar national and ethnic origin as you, or seeing your nation and/or ethnicity differently, because of your experience of internationalisation.

These experiences and more raise internal questions such as: where is home? Who am I becoming? And, what do my added experiences and knowledge mean for me, as I continue to navigate the society around me. My research attempts to deconstruct these questions.

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