Sarah Speck

Sarah Speck

PhD student

Human Geography

Tel.: 044 63 55178

Room number: Y25 L 34


Research interest

My research interest includes ageing and life in old age in the global south. The aim of my current research project is to explore and understand older people’s lives and livelihoods in contemporary Nepal, particularly in the rural Hills region of West Nepal (Kaski and Syangja districts). I focus on the perspective of the elderly, how they perceive their life in old age, how they cope and adjust to changes, such as incessant outmigration of the younger generation, and how they navigate through and within their social worlds in old age.

Earlier research for my master's thesis in Central Vietnam (Hué) sparked my interest on older people's lives and livelihoods in developing contexts, and how they manage their lives in today’s fast moving world.

Regional focus: South and Southeast Asia


  • 2012 Master of Science in Geography with a Specialization in Human and Economic Geography
  • 2010 Bachelor of Science in Geography


  • Karki, Darshan and Sarah Speck (2018): Rauniyar, Deepak. 2016. White Sun (Seto Surya). DVD (89 minutes). Nepal: Aadi Production and Louverture Film. [Review of the film White Sun] (in review)
  • Speck, Sarah (2017): Over the Hills and Far Away: Viewpoints from Elderly on Implications of Outmigration in the Middle Hills of West Nepal. Mountain Research and Development 37(4): 425-435.
  • Speck, Sarah (2012): Socio-economic Impacts of Microcredits on Older People in the Surroundings of Huế, Vietnam. MSc Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Zurich.


  • Jun 2017   International Emotional Geographies Conference. California State University, Long Beach.
  • Mar 2017   Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Workshop. University of Oxford.
  • Oct 2016   Annual Conference on South Asia. Center for South Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Jun 2016   South Asian Studies Workshop. EASAS and CEI ISCTE Institute, University of Lisbon.
  • Dec 2015   Human Geography Research Seminar. University of Zurich.
  • May 2013   VSV Annual Meeting. Swiss-Vietnam Friendship Association, Zurich.
  • Feb 2013   SGAG Annual Meeting / 2012 SGAG Price Ceremony. Swiss Association of Applied Geography.
  • May 2012   Human Geography Research Seminar. University of Zurich.


  • GEO 242 Methods in Human Geography (Bsc level seminar, with Norman Backhaus), 2016 – today
  • GEO 399 Geneva Excursion, 2017
  • GEO 511: Human Geography Research Colloquium (coordination), 2015
  • GEO 246 Statistics in Geography (Bsc level seminar, with Sara I. Fabrikant), from 2008-2011
  • GG 440 Fachwissenschaftliche Ausbildung für  SekundarlehrerInnen (Bsc level seminar, with Max Maisch), 2010

(teaching at other universities see on personal website)

Supervised bachelor theses

  • Schudel Lorina (2017): Der lange Weg zur Gesundheit. Herausforderungen und Lösungsansätze in Bezug auf den Gesundheitszugang von Müttern in abgelegenen Bergregionen in Bolivien und Nepal.
  • Lienhard Charlotte (2016): Die alternde Gesellschaft in Entwicklungsländern. Heutige Herausforderungen und Chancen.