School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr Sara Ganassin

Research Associate



I was appointed Research Associate at Newcastle University in October 2017. Here, I work on the ‘Critical Skills for Life and Work’ Project’, managed by Dr Tony Young. The project, funded through the Erasmus Higher Education fund, seeks to develop the professional intercultural communicative competence of highly skilled refugees. My role involves ensuring the delivery of different aspects of the project, co-creating a teaching and learning toolkit, and contributing to the dissemination activities.


In 2017, I completed a PhD in Education at Durham University with a thesis entitled: ‘Mandarin Chinese community schooling in England: language, culture and pupils’ identities’. In Durham, I have worked and co-published with Dr Prue Holmes developing research on internationalisation in higher education in Europe and China, and on multilingual research theory and methodology.

I have experience of delivering different aspects of European Commission funded projects (LLP and ERASMUS ) on themes related to internationalisation, interculturality, and the development of learning and teaching resources. Between 2014 and 2015, I was employed as Research and Teaching Assistant on the IEREST Project (Intercultural Education Resources for Erasmus Students and their Teachers) an Erasmus Multilateral Project at the Durham School of Education (

After graduating in Chinese culture and language from the University of Ca’ Foscari, Venice, and completing a master’s degree in International Cooperation and Development, I worked for seven years in the voluntary sector (North of England Refugee Service and Oxfam UK Poverty Programme) in the UK as project staff and researcher working with migrant and refugee women and young people. 

Qualifications and Awards

•            2008 – 2009    Master’s degree in International Cooperation and Development, The Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI), Milan, Italy.

•            2005 – 2007    Master’s degree in Languages and Civilisations of Eastern Asia (Chinese linguistics and history), Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice, Italy.

•            2001 – 2004    BA in Languages and Cultures of Eastern Asia (Mandarin Chinese language), Ca’ Foscari, University of Venice, Italy.

•            Associate Fellowship of The Higher Education Academy.

•            DULTA (Durham University Learning and Teaching Award).

•            Durham University Faculty of Social Sciences and Health Postgraduate Publication Bursary 2017

Peer review experience


I act as a reviewer for the following academic journals:


  • International Journal of Applied Linguistics
  • Journal of International and Intercultural Communication
  • Journal of Language, Identity & Education
  • Frontiers of Education in China

SCOPUS: Click here.


I research in intercultural education and communication, with a particular interest for the interplay of language, culture and identity in mobility and migratory contexts. I am particularly interested in the intercultural dimension of Chinese language education and in the phenomenon of Chinese community schooling.

My specific research interests are:

•            Intercultural and International Education and Intercultural Communication

•            Heritage and Second/Foreign Language Learning and Teaching (Chinese Language Education)

•            Migrant and Refugee Communities in Europe

•            Multilingual Research (theory and methodology)

•            Qualitative Research Methods (Visual Research Methods, Ethnography)


 In 2018/2019 I am module leader for: 

  • ALC8002 Sociolinguistics