Sarah Speck

Sarah Speck

PhD student

Space, Nature and Society

Tel.: 044 63 55178

Room number: Y25 L 34


Research interest

My research interests include ageing and life in old age in countries of the Global South. The aim of my current 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 and the incessant process of outmigration in particularly the Middle Hills Region of Nepal. I seek to disclose problems and challenges older people are facing in the specific setting of remote rural mountain villages affected by incessant outmigration of the young paired with demographic change.

Earlier research for my master's thesis in Vietnam sparked my interest on older people's lives and livelihoods in the Global South, and how they manage and adjust their lives in today’s fast moving world.


Regional focus: South Asia (Nepal) and Southeast Asia (Vietnam)


  • 2012 University of Zurich: Master of Science, Geography with a Specialization in Human and Economic Geography

Speck, S (2012). Socio-economic Impacts of Microcredits on Older People in the Surroundings of Huế, Vietnam. MSc Thesis, Department of Geography, University of Zurich.

  • 2010 University of Zurich: Bachelor of Science, Geography

Speck, S (2010). Development Interventions in the Highlands of Bolivia in the 21st century: Studies on long-term Strategies for Development in the Altiplano.


HS 2019 & FS 2020
 GEO 511 Master Thesis
HS 2019
 GEO 112 Humangeographie I (Introduction to Human Geography)
HS 2019
 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 (ongoing): Homestay Tourism as a Form of Women's Empowerment in Rural Nepal: Implications, Challenges and Opportunities (working title), co-supervision with Prof. em. U. Müller-Böker and Prof. N. Backhaus (MSc Thesis)
  • 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 (Bsc Thesis)
  • Lienhard Charlotte (2016): Die alternde Gesellschaft in Entwicklungsländern. Heutige Herausforderungen und Chancen (Bsc Thesis)

Public talks

  • Oct 2018 "Maybe this Generation doesn't like the Elderly": How outmigration affectsthe situation of Older People in Mountain Villages of West Nepal. "Ageing Across Boarders" Workshop, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen.
  • Apr 2018 "No country for the Old? Understanding Access to Social Security for the Elderly in rural Nepal", Annual Meeting AAG, New Orleans.
  • Jun 2017 "Someday I will die here", International Emotional Geographies Conference. California State University, Long Beach.
  • Mar 2017 "Over the Hills and far away: Viewpoints from Elderly on Implications of Outmigration in the mid Hills of West Nepal", Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Workshop. University of Oxford.
  • Oct 2016 "Viewpoints from Elderly on Social Change in Western Nepal", Conflict and Change in Nepal, Annual Conference on South Asia. Center for South Asia, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Jun 2016 "Life in Old Age. Challenges and Changing Conditions in Rural Nepal", South Asian Studies Workshop. EASAS and CEI ISCTE Institute, University of Lisbon.
  • May 2013 "Fürs tägliche Leben reicht es aus", VSV Annual Meeting. Swiss-Vietnam Friendship Association, Zurich.
  • Feb 2013 "Socio-economic Impacts of Microcredits on Older People in the Surroundings of Huế, Vietnam", SGAG Annual Meeting & Price Ceremony. Swiss Association of Applied Geography, Olten.