22 SES 06 A, Internationalisation: Student learning and mobility
There is a constantly growing interest in internationalization of higher education (IHE). Although there are different dimensions of IHE, student mobility has been the most important dimensions of IHE. Particularly the inbounding student mobility contributes to the countries, to higher education organizations and to individuals. Knight (1999; 2004) labelled these contributions as rationales of IHE and devised a framework to discuss economic, academic, political, social and cultural contributions of IHE at country, institution and individual levels. However, international students face with several challenges in their study abroad experience (Lee, Koeske, & Sales, 2004; Poyrazli, Kavanaugh, Baker, & Al-Thimimi, 2004), which endangers realization of these rationales. More importantly, these challenges trouble students’ adjustment and weaken their academic progress (Devos, 2003; Tseng & Newton, 2002; Ultsch & Rust, 2001). Therefore, significant number of studies conducted in order to examine international students’ experiences, reveal the challenges they experience, document sources of these challenges and build practice-oriented recommendations to eliminate these challenges (Pan, Wong, Joubert, & Chan, 2008; Kondakci, Van den Broeck, & Yildirim, 2008; Zheng & Berry, 1991; Neto & Barros, 2007).
As a result of the concern to eliminate the challenges faced by international students, a significant body of research concentrated on satisfaction of international students (Cetinkaya-Yildiz, Cakir, & Kondakci, 2011; Grey, 2002; Ward, Okura, Kennedy, & Kojima 1998; Kondakci et al., 2008). Despite the extensive literature on student mobility and experiences of the student there are several gaps in the literature regarding the challenges, sources of these challenges and solutions to these challenges. First of all, the experiences of international students are limited with academic and cultural experiences. However, international students experience several challenges related to administrative practices and social interaction. Secondly, most of the studies on the satisfaction of international students are conducted in traditional destinations of international students (e.g., USA, the UK, Canada, and Australia). Therefore, the literature reflects a Western understanding. However, there is a growing number of internationally mobile student in the periphery. Hence, knowledge produced on international students in traditional destinations may not apply to the students in the periphery. This mismatch may be related to differences in language, higher education system, culture etc. Therefore, research on student experiences in the periphery is also needed. Third most of the previous empirical research was conducted with limited data which can be one of the causes of ambivalent conclusions on the satisfaction of international students. Therefore, research with sound methodologies and extensive empirical data is needed to reveal the sources of satisfaction of international students.
Considering the gap in the literature, this study aims at identifying the factors contributing to satisfaction of international students and reveal the regional differences on different dimensions of student satisfaction in Turkey, a country which has been grouped as a sending country in the global scheme of the international student mobility and located in the periphery in the global economic, political and academic distribution of the world countries.
This study was designed as a mixed method study. Following Creswell's (2007) dominant-less dominant design, the quantitative part was conceived as the dominant one and the qualitative one was conceived as the less dominant one. The quantitative study was designed as a causal-comparative study while the qualitative part was designed a generic qualitative design (Merriam, 2009). The purpose of the qualitative study was to elaborate, signify and explain the quantitative results. In the quantitative part the main motivation was to reveal the factors contributing to international students' satisfaction and reveal the relative importance of these factors for students coming from different regions of the world. In 2016 there were 48,600 international students in Turkey. Following two stage cluster sampling, a total number of 3037 international students pursuing degrees at graduate and undergraduate levels were selected as the quantitative sample of the study. This sample constitutes more than %6 of the international student population in Turkey. Applying the snowball technique of purposeful sample, 30 international students studying in six different public universities in Turkey were selected as the qualitative sample of the study. A previously developed instrument by Kondakci, Cakir, and Cetinkaya-Yıldız (2009) was used to collect the data. The instrument composed two sections. The first section covered questions and items on the background information of the students. The second part of the instrument composed of items on the factors contributing to their satisfaction with their experiences in Turkey. Both qualitative and quantitative data set were collected in 2016. In order to reveal the difference between country groups (or regions) MANOVA was conducted using IBM Statistics 24. The number of students coming from different countries vary to great extends. Therefore, the sample was grouped into eight geographical regions: Africa, Middle East, Post-Soviet states, Central Asia and Turkic Republics, South East Asia, Latin America, North America, Europe, and the Balkans. These geographical regions formed the categorical variable of in MANOVA. The qualitative data was subjected to content analyses by MAXQDA12.
This study investigates the important issue of satisfaction of international students in a non-traditional setting. In that sense, this study contributes to the literature in two points. First, it depicts the capacity of a non-traditional destination in providing satisfactory academic, social and administrative experiences to international students. Particularly, high level of satisfaction from academic experience indicate that a non-traditional setting may also have the capacity to serve academic provisions at international standards. Secondly, the study enables a comparison between traditional and non-traditional destinations in providing satisfactory study-abroad experience to international students. Considering the qualitative findings, the study verifies that cultural experience is an important dimension of satisfaction for international students. In traditional destinations, satisfaction is more related to academic quality, prospect of staying at host country, and the attitudes of the social environment to international students. As indicated above, the core purpose of the study was to reveal regional differences on the eleven domains of student satisfaction. Except for the classroom participation sub-dimension, on all the ten dimensions the students coming from nine different regions differ from each other significantly. It is important to note that the variances on the variables related to academic experience are higher than the other eight variables. Hence, unlike the common belief, this study showed that non-traditional destinations may have the capacity to satisfy academic expectations of international students. Finally, the significant differences between regions on ten sub-dimensions of student satisfaction suggest that a single policy towards all world countries or regions may not ensure the satisfaction of international students. Rather different measures considering the unique expectations of students from different countries must be incorporated to the internationalization strategy of a non-traditional destination. Future research is needed to verify the dimensions of student satisfaction identified in this study to compere traditional destinations and non-traditional destinations.
Cetinkaya-Yildiz, E., Cakir, S.G., Kondakci, Y. (2011). Psychological ditress among international students in Turkey. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35, 534-539. Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative ınquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. Devos, A. (2003). Academic standards, internationalization, and the discursive construction of "The International Student". Higher Education Research & Development, 22(3), 155-166. Grey, M. (2002). Drawing with difference: Challenges faced by international students in an undergraduate business degree. Teaching in Higher Education, 7(2), 153-166. Knight, J. (1999). Internationalization of Higher Education. In J. Knight & H. De Wit (Eds), Quality and internationalization in higher education.. Paris: OECD. Knight, J. (2004). Internationalization remodeled: Definition, approaches, and rationales. Journal of Studies in International Education, 8, 5-31. Kondakçı, Y., Van den Broeck, H., & Yildirim, A. (2008). Challenges of internationalization from foreign and local students' perspectives: The case of management school. Asia Pacific Education Review, 9, 448-463. Lee, J. S., Koeske, G. F., & Sales, E. (2004). Social support buffering of acculturative stress: A study of mental health symptoms among Korean international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 28, 399-414. Neto, F., & Barros, J. (2007). Satisfaction with life among adolescents from Portuguese immigrant families in Switzerland. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 66, 215-223. Pan, J. Y., Wong, D. F. K., Joubert, L., & Chan, C. L. W. (2008). The protective function of meaning of life on life satisfaction among Chinese students in Australia and Hong Kong: A cross-cultural comparative study. Journal of American College Health, 57, 221-231. Poyrazli, S., Kavanaugh, P. R., Baker, A., & Al-Thimimi, N. (2004). Social support and demographic correlates of acculturative stress in international students. Journal of College Counseling, 7, 75-85. Tseng, W., & Newton, F. B. (2002). International students' strategies for well-being. College Student Journal, 36(4), 591-598. Ultsch, F., & Rust, C. (2001). Trying to develop an institutional/departmental intervention strategy to reduce international student failure. In C. Rust (Ed.), Improving student learning: Improving student learning strategically (pp. 363-379). Oxford: Oxford Brookes University, OCSLD. Ward, C., Okura, Y., Kennedy, A., & Kojima, T. (1998). The u-curve on trial: A longitudinal study of psychological and sociocultural adjustment during cross cultural transition. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 22(3), 277-291. Zheng, X., & Berry, J. W. (1991). Psychological adaptation of Chinese Sojourners in Canada. International Journal of Psychology, 26(4), 451-470.
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