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Mexican postgraduate international students’ adaptation experience in a UK university: the first weeks

Mexican postgraduate international students’ adaptation experience in a UK university: the first weeks
Mexican postgraduate international students’ adaptation experience in a UK university: the first weeks
This Doctoral research reports on a qualitative case study conducted to explore the adaptation experience of a cohort of Mexican international students pursuing a postgraduate degree at a prestigious university in England during the 2016-2017 academic calendar. Because the early stage of the transition has been acknowledged as a critical period (Ward, Furnham and Bochner, 2001; Brown, 2008) and a holistic understanding of the participants’ experience is to be captured by considering the pre-arrival stage (Schartner, 2014), this thesis focused on the pre-arrival period and the first four weeks of the participants’ stay in the UK. Additionally, although the numbers of students in international mobility have augmented considerably during recent decades (British Council, 2012), and with it research to document the international experience has flourished (Delgado-Romero and Sanabria, 2007), international students of Latin American origin appear to be an understudied population (Reynolds and Constantine, 2007). Therefore, this research aimed to redress such gap by looking at Mexican postgraduate international students in the second largest importer of international mobility, the UK (UIS, 2016). It explored the academic, sociocultural, and affective challenges faced, the coping strategies employed, and the institutional services resourced for their adaptation during their first four weeks.

Empirical evidence was gathered through a qualitative survey, a questionnaire, focus groups, and interviews. Bearing in mind the ‘here and now’ implementation of the instruments to facilitate the recalling of recent events (Lincoln and Guba, 1985; Munn and Drever, 1990) data was collected at four different points in time. In the pre-arrival stage (early to late September 2016) 12 students completed an online qualitative survey, on arrival (early October 2016) 25 students responded in-situ an online questionnaire; in the third stage (mid October) 20 volunteers took part in three focus groups; finally, 7 student participants (end of October) collaborated on an interview. The results reveal the challenges faced by the participants seemed to be related to various elements such as the extent of pre-arrival preparations, prior experience overseas, individual, and societal characteristics. Institutional support appeared to be mainly steered towards administrative concerns prior to departure whilst on arrival little assistance tailored for their needs, as international students seemed to be provided. The presence of a consolidated group of conational fellows in the host institution acted as a buffer during the participants’ first weeks in the UK.
University of Southampton
Hernandez Lopez, Elizabeth Margarita
4a094914-6388-40c2-bd08-6fd1b707233b
Hernandez Lopez, Elizabeth Margarita
4a094914-6388-40c2-bd08-6fd1b707233b
Dyke, Martin
5a5dbd02-39c5-41e0-ba89-a55f61c9cb39

Hernandez Lopez, Elizabeth Margarita (2018) Mexican postgraduate international students’ adaptation experience in a UK university: the first weeks. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 239pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This Doctoral research reports on a qualitative case study conducted to explore the adaptation experience of a cohort of Mexican international students pursuing a postgraduate degree at a prestigious university in England during the 2016-2017 academic calendar. Because the early stage of the transition has been acknowledged as a critical period (Ward, Furnham and Bochner, 2001; Brown, 2008) and a holistic understanding of the participants’ experience is to be captured by considering the pre-arrival stage (Schartner, 2014), this thesis focused on the pre-arrival period and the first four weeks of the participants’ stay in the UK. Additionally, although the numbers of students in international mobility have augmented considerably during recent decades (British Council, 2012), and with it research to document the international experience has flourished (Delgado-Romero and Sanabria, 2007), international students of Latin American origin appear to be an understudied population (Reynolds and Constantine, 2007). Therefore, this research aimed to redress such gap by looking at Mexican postgraduate international students in the second largest importer of international mobility, the UK (UIS, 2016). It explored the academic, sociocultural, and affective challenges faced, the coping strategies employed, and the institutional services resourced for their adaptation during their first four weeks.

Empirical evidence was gathered through a qualitative survey, a questionnaire, focus groups, and interviews. Bearing in mind the ‘here and now’ implementation of the instruments to facilitate the recalling of recent events (Lincoln and Guba, 1985; Munn and Drever, 1990) data was collected at four different points in time. In the pre-arrival stage (early to late September 2016) 12 students completed an online qualitative survey, on arrival (early October 2016) 25 students responded in-situ an online questionnaire; in the third stage (mid October) 20 volunteers took part in three focus groups; finally, 7 student participants (end of October) collaborated on an interview. The results reveal the challenges faced by the participants seemed to be related to various elements such as the extent of pre-arrival preparations, prior experience overseas, individual, and societal characteristics. Institutional support appeared to be mainly steered towards administrative concerns prior to departure whilst on arrival little assistance tailored for their needs, as international students seemed to be provided. The presence of a consolidated group of conational fellows in the host institution acted as a buffer during the participants’ first weeks in the UK.

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Final Thesis January 2019 - Version of Record
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Published date: July 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 428058
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/428058
PURE UUID: 62d93138-e98c-4c89-a9f1-d19a59b6a1c5

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Date deposited: 07 Feb 2019 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 17:36

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