My research interests include ageing and life in old age in countries of the Global South. The aim of my current PhD research project is to reveal in what ways the realities and experiences of older people living in remote rural and hilly areas of Western Nepal are shaped by the current demographic transition to an aged society that is paired with the incessant process of outmigration.
Earlier research for my master’s thesis in Central Vietnam (Hué) sparked my interest on older people’s lives and livelihoods in the Global South, and how they manage their lives in today’s fast moving world.
Further, I am interested in global health, particularly in health care in rural remote areas of Asia (Vietnam and Nepal) and the socio-economic effects of non-communicable diseases.
Areas of interest/specialization: geographies of ageing, geographical gerontology, demography & population ageing, microcredit, life in old age, livelihoods, vulnerability, development geography
Regional focus: South Asia (Nepal) and Southeast Asia (Vietnam)
- 2021 University of Zurich: Dr. Sc. Nat., Geography, Sustainable Development
- 2012 University of Zurich: Master of Science, Geography with a Specialization in Human and Economic Geography
- 2010 University of Zurich: Bachelor of Science, Geography
- Aug/Sept 2021 Migration, Ageing and Family Change: Experiences and Perceptions from Rural Nepal, Royal Geographical Society IBG Annual International Conference (online).
- Mar 2021 Population Ageing in the Global South: Challenges and Implications. Guest lecture at the School of Geopgraphy, University College Dublin.
Jul 2020 Population Ageing and Family Change: Older people's views on current changes of family arrangements in rural Nepal, The Annual Kathmandu Conference on Nepal and the Himalaya, Social Science Baha, Kathmandu, Nepal.
- Oct 2018 “Maybe this Generation doesn’t like the Elderly”: How outmigration affects the situation of Older People in Mountain Villages of West Nepal. “Ageing Across Boarders” workshop, Max Planck Institute or the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen.
- April 2018 “No country for the Old? Understanding Access to Social Security for the Elderly in rural Nepal”, Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers, New Orleans.
- June 2017 “Someday I will die here”, International Emotional Geographies Conference. California State University, Long Beach.
- March 2017 “Over the Hills and far away: Viewpints from Elderly on Implications of Outmigration in the mid Hills of West Nepal”, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Workshop. University of Oxford.
- October 2016 “Viewpoints from Elderly on Social Change in Western Nepal” Annual Conference on South Asia. Center for South Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- June 2016 “Life in Old Age. Challenges and Changing Conditions in Rural Nepal”, South Asian Studies Workshop. EASAS and CEI ISCTE Institute, University of Lisbon.
- December 2015 Human Geography Research seminar. University of Zurich.
- May 2013 VSV “Fürs tägliche Leben reicht es aus” (presentation of Master’s thesis), Annual Meeting. Swiss-Vietnam Friendship Association, Zurich.
- February 2013 “Socio-economic Impacts of Microcredits on Older People in the Surroundings of Huế, Vietnam” (presentation of Master’s thesis), SGAG Annual Meeting & Price Ceremony. Swiss Association of Applied Geography.
- May 2012 Human Geography Research Seminar. University of Zurich.
|HS 2019 & FS 2020
|| GEO 511 Master Thesis
|| GEO 361 Vertiefung Humangeographie
|| GEO 112 Humangeographie I (Introduction to Human Geography)
|HS 2019, 2020
|| GEO 110 Schweiz 2040
|FS 2016 & 2017 & 2019 & 2020
|| GEO 242 Humangeographie IV (Methods in Human Geography)
|HS 2018||International Graduate School North-South IGS Summer School in Pokhara (Nepal) 2018 (Development and Societal Change and Qualitative methods for field research, with Prof. U. Müller-Böker and IGS North-South, Berne)|
|FS 2017 & 2018||GEO 399 Geneva Excursion|
|FS 2016 & 2017
||GEO 386 Bachelor Thesis|
|HS 2015||GEO 511 Human Geography Research Colloquium|
|FS 2011||GEO 246 Statistics in Geography|
|FS 2010|| GG 440 Fachwissenschaftliche Ausbildung für SekundarlehrerInnen
|HS 2008 & 2009 & 2010||GEO 246 Statistics in Geography|
(teaching at University of Berne, see on personal website)
Supervised Master/Bachelor Theses
- Schmid, Jana (2021): Homestay Tourism as a Form of Women's Empowerment in Rural Nepal: Implications, Challenges and Opportunities, main/co-supervision with Prof. em. U. Müller-Böker and Prof. N. Backhaus (MSc Thesis)
- Vinotharajah Vibiga (2020): Klimawandel und Migration: Betrachtung am Fallbeispiel Bangladesch (BSc Thesis)
- Schudel Lorina (2017): Der lange Weg zur Gesundheit: Herausforderungen und Lösungsansätze in Bezug auf den Gesundheitszugang von Mütter in abgelegenen Bergregionen in Bolivien und Nepal (BSc Thesis)
- Lienhard Charlotte (2016): Die alternde Gesellschaft in Entwicklungsländern: Heutige Herausforderungen und Chancen
- Speck, Sarah; Müller-Böker, Ulrike (forthcoming): Population Aging and Family Change: Effects on the Living Conditions of Older People in Rural Nepal. European Bulletin of Himalayan Research/EBHR (winter issue 55/2020)
- Speck, Sarah (in review): Obstacles to Accessing Social Pensions in Rural Nepal. International Journal of Ageing in Developing Countries (special issue 2021 on ageing in SAARC countries).
- Hochstrasser, Judith (2018): Old and Alone in Nepal. Horizons. The Swiss Research Magazine.
- 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.