The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

An Island in The Mind? : A Case Study of English Erasmus Students’ Understandings of British and European Identity


  • Hazel Davies

Summary, in English

While overall Erasmus participation rates are increasing, the number of UK students taking part is falling, and the particularity of the ‘British case’ is one that merits investigation. This thesis is concerned with notions of identity as understood by English Erasmus students specifically, and investigates how such students understand European identity and British identity, both in relation to each other and to their year abroad experience. While studies into the effects of doing a year abroad on European identity have been carried out, none has attempted to unpick what ‘European identity’ actually means for students. This thesis seeks not to prove whether an Erasmus year does or does not have an effect, but instead to understand how English students frame European and British identity. It also sets out to address deficiencies in research conducted thus far by using a new methodology of qualitative interviews and discourse analysis. By comparing students’ opinions and views on British and European identity to main scholarly understandings of the concepts, I consider which discourses are being reproduced and which ones challenged by English Erasmus students, as well as how their different identities interact.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • qualitative interviews
  • Erasmus programme
  • collective identity
  • British identity
  • European identity
  • discourse analysis


  • Tomas Sniegon