International postgraduate students experience in a UK university: Lessons for academic practice

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

This paper reports on a study of the international postgraduate student experience in a United Kingdom (UK) university, using a case study approach. Looking at both the academic and non academic experience of students in the university, the paper attempts to identify differences in perceptions of staff and students on key issues related to the international student experience. The limited sample of this study is compensated for by the quality and depth of data obtained from in-depth interviews with students and staff in one UK university. Results indicate significant convergence of perceptions in relation to the quality of education in the UK though the issues of cultural integration, English language and inadequate student support and the serious threat these issues pose to the quality of experience for students. The paper identifies five key gaps in the way staff and students conceptualise the postgraduate student experience and concludes with suggestions for how management might narrow these gaps in the higher education context.

Keywords: internationalisation, student experience, gaps in perception