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'Those first few months were horrible': cross-cultural adaptation and the J-curve in international students experience in the UK and Norway

Collins, H, Dailey-Strand, C and Callaghan, D 'Those first few months were horrible': cross-cultural adaptation and the J-curve in international students experience in the UK and Norway. Journal of Studies in International Education. ISSN 1028-3153 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Since the 1970s, international students have represented a growing proportion of the global student body, yet how they adjust and how universities can support them is relatively unexplored. We conducted a qualitative study of 36 international students of 11 nationalities studying in Norway and the UK, and found that their experience did not fit the dominant ‘U-Curve’ of adaptation that suggests there is a honeymoon period on arrival. Confirmed with conversations with student wellbeing staff, who suggest that anxiety and culture shock are the norm, the data allows us to suggest factors that trigger adjustment and interventions to improve students’ experience. Our contribution is a ‘J-Curve’ model comprising cultural challenge, adjustment and mastery, to reflect the reality of international student experience.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This item has been accepted for publication in: Journal of Studies in International Education.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 13 Education
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Business & Management (new Sep 19)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2021 10:02
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2021 10:15
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/14867

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