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Intercultural adjustment of internationally mobile academics working in Thailand

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alina SchartnerORCiD, Professor Tony Young, Dr Navaporn Snodin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022, The Author(s). Non-nationals constitute up to a quarter of the academic staff workforce of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) worldwide. Their motivations to ‘work abroad’, and their experiences of doing so, are, however, under-researched, especially where migration is to or within the global South. We report a study conducted among internationally mobile academics from a variety of countries working in Thailand. At policy level, Thailand aspires to increase the numbers of international staff and students in its HEIs, but with mixed success in terms of recruitment levels and the reported quality of the experience among these migrants. Conceptually, our study drew on a framework of intercultural adjustment defined as a multidimensional construct comprising psychological, sociocultural and professional/work aspects of the experience. Semi-structured focus groups were conducted to explore experiences of working in Thailand. Thematic analysis of findings showed that reported experiences mainly fell under the category of professional/work aspects of intercultural adjustment, although sociocultural issues were also important. The reported quality of experiences was mixed and generally more negative than positive in the key areas of professional and work adjustment. Specific challenges highlighted by participants related to issues with the work environment, most especially lingual-cultural problems and, crucially, a lack of secure status. We detail and discuss these findings and present recommendations for policy makers and HEIs, aspirant academic migrants, and for future research into global academic migration, particular as it relates to Thailand and other destinations for academic migration.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Schartner A, Young TJ, Snodin N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Higher Education

Year: 2023

Volume: 85

Pages: 483-502

Print publication date: 01/03/2023

Online publication date: 08/04/2022

Acceptance date: 17/03/2022

Date deposited: 13/04/2022

ISSN (print): 0018-1560

ISSN (electronic): 1573-174X

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1007/s10734-022-00846-4


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Funder referenceFunder name
AF160059British Academy