Alena Ryazanova



Originally I come from Russia. I was born in Moscow, but then I moved to Mozhga (Udmurt Republic) - a small town in a central part of the country. When I was 16, I moved back to Moscow, where I entered the Russian State University for the Humanities. Having obtained a specialist degree in Linguistics and Translation Science there, I moved to London, UK, where I earned my MA (Linguistics) at Queen Mary, University of London. In Russia and in the UK I was working as a translator and interpreter. Plus, during my MA times in London I was also conducting some research at the British Library, where I got published. When I finished my study, I took a CELTA course and then came back to Russia, where I was teaching first at school and then – in Higher Education. 

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

I have always been passionate about teaching and languages. Having obtained MA in Linguistics, I realized that I want to further pursue my study in the domain of research on sociolinguistic and educational practices and, eventually, earn a PhD.

What makes me passionate about my subject?

Firstly, as I said, sociolinguistics (as applied to the domains of education and migration studies) as a field of knowledge itself is my passion. Secondly, having undergone through the experiences of living and learning abroad and as an academic sojourner myself, I always felt that this is some kind of my moral obligation – to research the phenomenon of study abroad and to document the stories of Russian academic sojourners, which, in its turn might help educators in developing the programmes supporting students before/during/after the sojourn.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

For me getting a PhD is a next (and very big and significant) step in my academic career. I hope that after my study I will continue working as a teacher and a researcher in Higher Education and contribute to the development of transparent research community in my country.

Research interests

Within my project I investigate the study abroad (SA) experiences of Russian academic sojourners in the UK through consideration of identity, voice and ideologies. The main goal of the study is to explore the phenomena of developing voice trajectories through the lens of ideologies within migrant settings, while negotiating identities, simultaneously experiencing and using two (or more) languages and cultures, and dealing with social inequalities.

Thus, my study overall contributes to the existing body of work on SA, which has been criticized for its geographical asymmetry and lack of attention to a great variability in the forms of design and delivery of SA programmes. The practical relevance of the project is determined by the growing number of Russian-born residents in the UK and increasing popularity of SA amongst Russian people. The study therefore addresses a) the previously undocumented experiences of Russian academic sojourners, b) the lack of research on Russian migrants’ identity construction in relation to their sociolinguistic activity and (language) ideologies, and c) the methodological limitations of existing studies.