Alina Schartner (2014) ‘You cannot talk with all of the strangers in a pub’: a longitudinal case study of international postgraduate students’ social ties at a British university, Volume 69, Issue 2, February 2015, p. 225-241

Abstract. The formation of social ties is a major factor in the international student experience (Ramsay et al. in High Educ 54(2):247–265, 2007), influencing student wellbeing and adjustment to the new academic and sociocultural environment (Ward et al. in The psychology of culture shock. Routledge, Hove, 2001). Although a significant body of research in the international student literature has explored the role of social ties in student adjustment (Maundeni in Race Ethn Educ 4(3):253–276, 2001), there is a lack of studies monitoring student sojourners’ social ties longitudinally. This case study therefore sought to investigate the dynamics and functions of social ties by tracking a group of international students over one academic year. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted at three time stages with 20 international postgraduate students at a single UK university. The aim was to replicate and extend the Functional Model of Friendship Networks (Bochner et al. in Int J Psychol 12(4):277–294, 1977) which suggests that student sojourners typically form three distinct social networks: a co-national network, a host national network, and a non-co-national international network. The data shows evidence for a lack of host contact, reveals complexities associated with co-national contact, and points to the dominance of highly supportive ‘international ties’. Further longitudinal research is called for to further inform our understanding of international students’ social contact patterns over time.

Harman, G. (2003), International PhD students in Australian universities: financial support, course experience and career plans, International Journal of Educational Development, XXXIII, 3,  339-351.

Abstract. Using data from a social survey of PhD students in two major Australian universities supplemented by student interviews. this article reports on the financial support, course experience and career plans of international PhD students. While most international PhD students hold scholarships which include stipends, a minority of students experience financial problems and lack adequate research support. Overall international PhD students express a high degree of satisfaction with their courses, although there are concerns about the quality and effectiveness of supervision, working space available to research students and help provided in designing research projects. Language problems sometimes adversely affect student progress while some international students find difficulty adjusting to a less deferential working arrangement with their supervisors and less structure in research direction. International PhD students are optimistic about their career prospects and certainly more confident about their careers than Australian PhD students. High proportions of international PhD students expect to follow research careers and say that the PhD degree will enhance their career prospects. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

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