ERIC Number: EJ1210382
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Abstractor: As Provided
The Role of Social Networks in the Transitional Experiences of International African Doctoral Students at One University in South Africa
Herman, Chaya; Meki Kombe, Charity L.
Higher Education Research and Development, v38 n3 p508-521 2019
International doctoral students' sojourn encompasses three transitional processes: to the new country, to the university and to a new academic identity as a researcher in a specific discipline. This article examines the role of social networks in facilitating these transitions for international doctoral students at one South African university. It is based on qualitative interviews conducted with 23 international PhD students representing eight different disciplines and various countries in Africa. The findings suggest that students are involved in a number of social networks, which all, apart from the academic network, exclude local students. This close-knit co-national network, while providing international PhD students with a well documented survival mechanism, may hinder their international experiences and limit the acquisition of the inter-cultural skills necessary for global citizenship in the twenty-first century. The findings also indicated that family networks back home played a role in instilling worries and doubts among students related to xenophobic attacks against foreigners.
Descriptors: Social Networks, Professional Identity, Graduate Students, Foreign Students, Researchers, Doctoral Programs, Intellectual Disciplines, Stranger Reactions, Foreign Countries, Universities, Student Attitudes, Cultural Awareness, Intercultural Communication, Family Relationship, Role, Educational Experience, Study Abroad, African Culture
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa; Africa