Experiences of International Students and How They Adapt to British University Life

Experiences of International Students and How They Adapt to British University Life

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Introduction:
The amount of international students studying in the UK in 2011-2012 totalled 435,230 which is an increase of 2% from the previous year (UKCISA statistics, 2012). As a student of the University of Essex which has the reputation for being one of the UK’s most internationally diverse universities with students from over 130 countries (University of Essex, 2010) I, myself have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Throughout my first year of study I lived with seven international students from places including Albania, Norway and even India. Being close friends with these individuals has led me to notice differences, as well as similarities in social, academic and cultural views. This has hugely influenced my research topic.
I am interested in finding out about experiences of international students and how they adapt to British University life. By the end of my research I plan to be able to answer the following question:
“To what extent do differences in culture affect how international students adapt to British university life?”
I believe that it is important to understand how international students adapt to English life so that Universities in the future can help make the transition for these students as easy and as welcoming as possible. Going to University itself is a frightening concept, so moving away from your own culture and moving into a country which may be completely different would be absolutely terrifying. I therefore believe that international students should have as much help as possible to help make this process as smooth as possible.

Literature review:
Gu, Schwisfurth and Days book “Learning and Growing in a Foreign Context: Intercultural experiences of international students...


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...g period of time in the field, sometimes even more than a year, to produce a true record of every day behaviour (Goffman, 1989). In an ideal world I would conduct a longitudinal study however as I am restricted by the date of research submission I feel that a period of a month, consisting of two to three hours daily should be sufficient. Another time costly aspect of ethnographies is the typing up of field notes. I shall be making field notes on behaviour, dialogue and attitudes throughout the hours of observation as soon as possible. This may be difficult as I do not want the participants to know that I am studying them so I shall make my field notes at the closest possible time when the individual is not present. After collecting my field notes I will then also spend an hour or two every night to type these notes up and to analyse what I have found from that day.

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Experiences of International Students and How They Adapt to British University Life

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