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Success factors for international postgraduate students' adjustment: exploring the roles of intercultural competence, language proficiency, social contact and social support
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Dr Tony Young
Dr Peter Sercombe
Young TJ, Sercombe PG, Sachdev I, Naeb R, Schartner A
European Journal of Higher Education
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The enormous growth in the number of ‘international’ students in higher education is a phenomenon of increasing importance to educators, educational and intercultural researchers and to policy makers worldwide. This study considerably widened the scope of previous investigations in the area by integrating associations between a broad range of adjustment indices – academic grades (here, measured as the products of both taught and research assignments), psychological wellbeing, and satisfaction with life in the new environment – and contributory factors such as participants’ intercultural competence, language proficiency, and the degree, quality and patterns of social contact during their sojourn. The investigation was multimethodological, involving a questionnaire with both quantitative and qualitative responses, and semi-structured interviews over the period of study. Participants were 108 non-UK postgraduate students from a variety of countries undertaking Masters programmes in the humanities or social sciences at a British university. Findings provided empirical foundation for a model of international student adjustment which adds to our understanding of the interrelationships between contributory factors and outcomes. Implications of these findings, and a future research agenda, are discussed.
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