Stuerznickel Vacation or Internationalization 

Malika T. Stuerznickel


Malika T. Stuerznickel is currently pursuing a Research Masters in Sociology and Demography at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. Previously, she completed a Bachelor of Arts in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin in Germany. Her research interests include Afro-Europe, educational equity, political economy, and the interplay of racialization processes and diversity measures in German higher education.


This paper analyzes the relationship between the university as a central institution of knowledge validation and higher education transformation through internationalization. Guided by a decolonial framework, I examine the role of the Nelson Mandela University study abroad program in constructing both physical and discursive spaces that implicitly or explicitly uphold the global epistemological security of eurocentrism. I employ autoethnography, Erving Goffman’s performance theory and W.E.B. DuBois’s theory of double consciousness to center my own positionality and that of my German peers. In this way, I exploit my own amorphous socio-historical position as a Black German participant in the study abroad program to explore Nelson Mandela University’s current global partnership and study abroad program participant demographics. Through this descriptive analysis, I question whether the study abroad program’s current prioritization of western European and US-American students will support the growth of an internationalization project capable of advancing the university’s own social justice goals.