Mobilities | 2023
This paper examines new forms of study-abroad expertise on social media and their role in mediating Indian student mobility to Germany. Firstly, it explores how mutual-support Facebook and WhatsApp groups—used by prospective international students in India to support each other through the process of applying to German universities—have contributed to the emergence of new forms of education consultancy, offered by Indian students or graduates of German universities, whom I call ‘Student Guides’. In addition, it shows how some Indians studying in Germany have started ‘Study in Germany’ YouTube channels, aimed at aspirant student migrants, and have become important ‘study-abroad influencers’. The paper analyses how these new forms of study-abroad expertise offer prospective international students social and cultural capital important for successful student migration, apart from shaping their imaginative geographies of Germany, and embedding them in cultures of mobility. Furthermore, the paper highlights how these new forms of study-abroad expertise intersect with, and critique, a more ‘traditional’ study-abroad expert: the professional education consultant. The paper draws on a digital ethnography of ‘Study in Germany’ Facebook and WhatsApp groups and YouTube channels, as well as interviews with the YouTubers, Student Guides, and Indian students in Germany.