20 SES 10, Citizenship and Motivation in Higher Education and Collaborative Learinging in Cultural Diverse Motivation Expectations and Experiences for International Sutdents in Higher Education Groups
This paper is part of a three-year research project sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan and conducted by researchers at Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Education in consultation with an international expert advisory group.
This study aims to explore what motivates foreign students to choose Kazakhstan as their tertiary education destination. The purpose of the study is to understand the motivations, expectations and experiences of international students studying at one KZ university where inbound student mobility is a significant institutional policy agenda.
Currently there is a substantial imbalance between inbound and outbound student mobility in Kazakhstan. Although about 60,000 Kazakhstani students are reported to be studying overseas, there are only slightly over 10,000 international students in Kazakhstani universities. Most of these international students come from Russia, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, South Korea, Afghanistan, Belarus, and Romania. Large parts of them are self-funded (n=10 141), some are participants of mutual agreements on educational exchange between countries (n=259) and some are recipients of state grants of Kazakhstan. There are about 132 universities in Kazakhstan where three languages, Kazakh, Russian and English, are the languages of instruction. However, recruitment of international students is not common for all of them. Only a few universities have the capacity to receive international students with English-medium classes, but most of them are able to accommodate students from former Soviet countries who share similar cultural and language background.
Educational policymakers recognize the importance of increasing inbound student mobility. Being a signatory of the Bologna Declaration and part of EHEA requires Kazakhstan to increase international mobility of Kazakhstani students to 20 percent. As a result, increasing the number of foreign students in Kazakhstani universities of Kazakhstan is made a priority in higher education reform. It would not only mean complying with international mandates, but also represent the acceptance of Kazakhstani HEIs by the regional/international higher education market.
Although there has been a number of research on outbound student mobility (Perna et. al 2014, 2015.., Altbach 2014, Nurbek 2014) in Kazakhstan, there is lack of research on inbound student mobility. The practical significance of the research is to advise policymakers and universities on effectively attracting foreign students through informing on foreign students’ experience in Kazakhstan, including the assessment of the quality of education and its accessibility, and also on estimated infrastructure of Kazakhstani universities, and their perceptions regarding accepting foreign students
One of the classical models to explain the factors influencing the international student motivation and decision is push-pull model. It is ‘used to understand international student flows, the decision or motivation to study abroad and the international students’ choices of country and institution’ (Chen, 2007). By applying the push-pull factors in this paper, we will focus on factors associated with Kazakhstani context. We will also consider personal reasons, country and city image, institution image and programme evaluation (Cubillo, Sánchez & Cerviño, 2006). Previous research on international student experience suggests that ‘adaptation to teaching and learning in a host country depends on the similarity of the foreign students’ cultural background to the culture of the host country’ (Hull, 1978). Additionally, research indicates that the ways universities, programs and courses address pastoral and academic issues faced by international students in the host country are key to a successful educational experience (Edwards & Ran, 2006).
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