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Title: 'Studying abroad' : towards understanding the acquisition of a second academic culture among postgraduate international EFL students
Author: Heilgenberg, Kerstin
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2011
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The importance of international students to British universities has received increasing recognition over the last decade. Their integration and, to a certain degree, their satisfaction as paying customers have become essential for universities. To understand their experiences, scholars have researched international students, for instance from a literacy perspective. Extensive research into various areas of second language acquisition and social aspects of language learning has furthered our understanding in this area. Here, academic literacy in general and academic writing in particular have become a noted focus. However, the multitudes of factors of "Academic Culture" that influence students' success in a university programme abroad have not been researched extensively. The focus of this study is the acquisition of a "Second Academic Culture". This encompasses the practices and norms of various student activities including group work, awareness of authority and power distances. This study analyses the different elements of academic culture and the acquisition of a second academic culture empirically by examining international students who came to the UK for postgraduate studies at the Park Royal College (PRC). Prior to their arrival in the UK they had acquired the academic culture of their home university through an undergraduate degree. The theoretical frameworks applied in this study are Communities of Practice and Activity Theory. Communities of Practice, as a learning theory, provides insight into the learning situation for students within their learning community. Activity Theory emphasises the object-orientedness, mediation and contradictions within the students' activity systems and between them. By analysing the students' experiences, this study brings forth the multi-faceted composition of academic culture. Through its empirically grounded and theoretically reflective insights, this research contributes to our understanding of the international student experience at the PRC in particular and of second academic culture acquisition in general.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available