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

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.


  • IGS Summer School in Pokhara (Nepal) 2018 (seminars on “Development and Societal Change” and “Qualitative methods for field research”, with Prof. U. Müller-Böker), 2018
  • GEO 242 Methods in Human Geography (Bsc level seminar, with Prof N. Backhaus), 2016 – today
  • GEO 399 Geneva Excursion, 2017 today
  • GEO 511 Human Geography Research Colloquium (coordination), 2015
  • GEO 246 Statistics in Geography (Bsc level seminar, with Prof. S. Fabrikant), from 2008-2011
  • GG 440 Fachwissenschaftliche Ausbildung für  SekundarlehrerInnen (Bsc level seminar, with Prof. M. 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.