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Title: A study of international Vietnamese undergraduate students' psychological, sociocultural and academic adaptation and adjustment at a higher education institution in Thailand
Author: Srisakda, Nattaya
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 0441
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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This study focuses on the processes of adjustment of Vietnamese undergraduate students (VUs) when they were studying at a higher education institution in Thailand. Its aims were to explore students' challenges or difficulties and strategies they employed to overcome the difficulties they experienced in their sojourn. This quasi-longitudinal study was conducted over six months to investigate three main areas of students' adjustment, namely: psychological, sociocultural, and academic. A multiple-methods research designed was adopted with semi-structured interviews, and focus groups as key data collection instruments. The data was collected from students who were enrolled in Bachelor Degree programmes in General Management Science, Science, and Technology and one group of students who attended a preparative course at one of the fastest growing Thai universities. The data collection was conducted in multiple phases. The semi-structure interviews were twice with ten participants. The first interview (T1) was conducted at the beginning of the new semester (weeks 5th- 6th), and the second interview (T2) was carried out in the 26th teaching week. Focus groups were conducted in the 13th teaching week with eight volunteers of each group. The findings indicated that all three domains of students' successful adjustment were closely related to gaining sufficient contact and support from co-nationals and host nationals. In the psychological domain, it was found that several students held a positive belief, framed as 'self-efficacy' and used it as a stress coping strategy, while many students mentioned religious coping, such as making merit which related to their positive psychological and sociocultural adjustment. The findings revealed culturally specific stress-coping strategies often utilised by Asian international students but rarely used by Western college students. The most important factor which enhanced students' sociocultural adjustment was friendship networks with host-nationals. Along with the close cultural distance, which made students feel connected with the host culture, the longer length of residence in the host country cultivated students' sociocultural adjustment. In academic domain, academic Thai language was a significant factor which had a great effect on their academic adjustment. The findings gained from this study gives a fine-grained view on international students' experiences which is an "intra-Asian phenomenon". It makes significant contributions to an understanding of international students' adjustment processes in a non-English speaking i country and fills an existing gap in cross-cultural research. The research approaches can be applied in studies with other groups of students, particularly, South East Asian student groups who study in Thailand. It is also hoped that the findings of this research can be applied to enrich the quality and efficiency of Higher Education in Thailand. They can be used as guidelines for Higher Education institutions in making policies, planning, devising proactive strategies, and conducting effective public relations exercises in educational management in terms of university academic management and counselling in order to support international students when they study in Thailand.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Royal Thai Government
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available