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Title: A phenomenological exploration of the experiences of international students
Author: Saubert, Shanna Beth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5359 827X
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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International students have an undeniable effect on the higher education (HE) landscape worldwide, from economics and political strategies to HE efforts to focus on and improve ‘the student experience’. However, most previous research about students’ motivations for having an international experience and experiences of student engagement has focused on factors identified from the staff perspective rather than that of the students. As ‘student engagement’ is a widely used term in HE policy and practice, it is important to increase understanding: of the concept itself; how motivations influence student engagement; and how different types of student engagement may affect students’ perceptions of their experiences. Therefore, this research explores the nature of the relationships between identified motivations, types of student engagement, and perceptions of international students at a university in the United Kingdom (UK) in order to increase understanding of the students’ experiences from the students’ perspective. Using a phenomenological approach with a mixed methods design, data was collected from students during the 2012/13 academic year which included 249 questionnaires and 10 semi-structured interviews. Students reported various motivations which impacted their decision to come to the UK for part of their HE experience and also had an effect on how they engaged in their international experiences. Additionally, responses from students indicate that students tend to focus on the non-academic aspects of their experiences (i.e. social interactions, friendships, travel, clubs and societies, etc.) when reflecting on their international experiences with other students as opposed to academic aspects (i.e. studying, coursework, etc.). Finally, the findings suggest, when compared with academic engagement behaviours, international students’ perceptions of their experience were more influenced by behaviours for non-academic engagement; specifically, data indicates that non-academic engagement behaviours can decrease students’ concerns whilst abroad and also have a positive influence on students’ overall perceptions about their international experience.
Supervisor: Chambers, Gary ; Homer, Matt Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available