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ERIC Number: ED544484
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-1324-9320
"Settling In": Postgraduate Research Student Experiences; An International Perspective
Steinmetz, Christine; Mussi, Eveline
Australian Association for Research in Education (NJ1), Paper presented at the Joint Australian Association for Research in Education and Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference (AARE-APERA 2012) World Education Research Association (WERA) Focal Meeting (Sydney, New South Wales, Dec 2-6, 2012)
International student cohorts continue to be increasingly vital to higher education institutions in Australia; currently, they account for 20 percent of enrolments. However, there is concern that over the past few years, enrolment numbers have been dropping. Reasons for this decrease may vary from: tuition fee increases, new overseas universities adding to competition, the global financial crisis, student preferences toward US and UK universities, or perceived lack of Australian scholarship support for international students. At a time when uncertainty in financial markets loom, it is crucial that recruitment, retention, and overall experience, of international student's remain a focus in a university's strategic intent Studies on international students highlight that "adjustment" is crucial to a student's positive educational experience abroad. Cross-cultural differences and English language barriers are main factors in adjustment--influencing well-being and academic achievement. Although literature on international students is extensive, studies of international postgraduate research students is limited. Problems experienced by this cohort are heightened due to the somewhat isolated nature of research programs. The focus of this paper is on international postgraduate research students and factors that contribute to how they adjust or "settle in", to their research student candidature. The research involved in-depth interviews and focus groups with a cohort of postgraduate research students in a Group of Eight, research-intensive university in Sydney, Australia. The findings revealed that students had problems with: selection of supervisors, work opportunities within the faculty, knowing what is expected of them and lack of sense of belonging as means of connecting with a broader community of peers and academics. As faculties become aware of international research student challenges, even prior to enrolment, they can provide targeted support in order to contribute to and optimize the educational experience abroad.
Australian Association for Research in Education. AARE Secretariat, One Geils Court, Deakin ACT 2600, Australia. Tel: +61-2-6285-8388; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
Identifiers - Location: Australia