Although ‘internationalization’ tends to be is associated with positive connotations such as ‘innovation’ and ‘progression’, international students are also a source of controversy: While they can contribute to knowledge and capacity building in their home countries (presuming that they return with improved skills), they may also represent lost talent to foreign labour markets. The proposed postdoc project endeavors to deepen our understanding of the ways that foreign education, for students in the Baltic Sea and Eastern European region, is linked to wider life‐course aspirations such as long-term migration. More specifically, the project will focus on the life stories and future orientations of aspiring mobile students in Belarus and Ukraine – young people who have come of age in two different social contexts at the crossroads of the EU and the Russian Federation. To capture the complexity behind the students’ mobility decisions, interviews and participant observation among university students in Kyiv and Minsk will form the backbone of the study. The project will draw on Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology, with an emphasis on concepts such as ‘strategy’, ‘navigation’, ‘habitus’ and ‘capital’. The analytical focus, then, will not only be directed towards the reasoning provided by the students themselves but also on their location in social space, their acquired and inherited resources, their trajectories as well as on the structural constraints of their choices.