Connecting with the African-student diaspora in Australian higher education

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education Vol. 35

July, 2012, 373 pages
Published by
N. Brown, S.M. Jones, & A. Adam
0 908557 89 2

This paper reflects on the experience of a small group of mature aged students from African refugee backgrounds who are enrolled in tertiary degrees in social work at a South Australian university. It investigates the expectations and experiences of the students. In semi-structured interviews the students revealed a range of expectations and experiences such as having aspirations to work with their communities either in Australia or in Africa once they had qualified; entering university as a result of a TAFE qualification; struggling with the shock of computer and information literacy and making sense of the various learning supports provided by academics and learning staff and the distinctions between them. Students reported a preference for learning in a social environment and reiterated that they believed that not having English as a first language did not affect their thinking ability. An understanding of, and a response to, these issues may assist refugee students’ approach to learning at university.

Keywords: African students, social work education, teaching and learning issues 

Connecting with the African-student diaspora in Australian higher education

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Zufferey, Carole & Wache, Dale