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‘Travelling to learn’: A symposium exploring new conceptual, temporal and thematic perspectives on the ‘international’ student experience

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tony Young


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Convenor - Dr Tony Young Newcastle University, UK. The adjustment of ‘international’ students to higher education (HE) is a phenomenon of increasing importance to researchers, educators and policy makers worldwide. Over the past decade, the number of people ‘travelling to learn’ through higher education has increased year-on year: in 2009 almost 3.7 million students were enrolled in HE institutions outside their country of origin, an increase of 77% since 2000. Projections indicate that this number could grow to 7.2 million by 2025, representing a further increase of over 250%. (OECD, 2011). These students make a large financial contribution to host institutions, and to the diversity of student bodies around the world. The small but burgeoning literature on the challenges facing international students has consistently shown these to be greater than those faced by their local counterparts, even when they are of a similar nature – loneliness and social acceptance, and adjustment to the specific demands of university study, for example (Andrade 2006). Challenges more particularly salient to international students include issues of language and intercultural adjustment, and high levels of stress and anxiety. Social networks have received some attention, but their nature and influence remains under-explored. The four interlinked studies presented here aimed to broaden the conceptual, temporal and thematic perspectives currently being taken, and to bring a truly international perspective to bear, both in terms of research context and in terms of students’ points of origin and their destination. Schartner’s study explores the hitherto neglected period encompassing decision to sojourn, embarkation and the first phase of adjustment of a diverse cohort who studied in the UK. Ng, Rochelle, Shardlow, and Chan investigate the role of ‘distant’ support networks in the adjustment of East Asian students to predominantly English-speaking countries. Young and Sachdev explore the role of a range of predispositional, psycho-social and language ability contributory factors to various adjustment indices among a group of international students to life and study in the UK. Pitts examines the re-entry processes and identity and adjustment trajectory of a group of US student sojourners. A brief discussion of issues arising will follow the presentation of papers. Reference OECD (2011). Education at a Glance. Accessed 31 January 2012.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Young TJ

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 13th International Conference on Language and Social Psychology

Year of Conference: 2012