Narratives of a sense of belonging: Perspectives from a sample of international students in South Africa

W.T. Chinyamurindi

Abstract


South African universities have witnessed an increase in the number of international student enrolment. Strategies need to be put into place into ways of integrating and helping students develop a sense of belonging. The aim of this research (using a narrative analysis) is to understand how international students develop a sense of belonging as part of their enrolment at a rural university in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. In achieving this, a focus group discussion and reflective diaries were used at the start and end of the 2015 academic year using 20 international students. Data was analysed using the three levels of meaning making adopted in previous qualitative research. Three findings in the form of narratives emerge based on the data analysis. First, the formation of an in and out group mentality amongst international students. Second, the study reveals the factors that were narrated as influencing student’s sense of belonging. Despite all this, students still narrated as “suffering a sense of elsewhere”. Based on the findings and narratives generated from this work, suggestions are made that affect the work of lecturers, university administrators and also policy makers on what can be done to assist international students in developing a sense of belonging within a South African context as part of their enrolment.


Keywords


Narratives; belonging; higher education

Full Text:

PDF

References


Amsberry, D. 2010. Deconstructing plagiarism: International students and textual borrowing practices. Reference Librarian 51(1): 31–44.

Ang, P.L.D and P. Liamputtong. 2008. “Out of the circle”: International students and the use of university counselling services. Australian Journal of Adult Learning 48: 108–130.

Brunton, M. and L. Jeffrey. 2011. Identifying factors that influence the learner empowerment of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 43: 321–334

Chinyamurindi, W.T. 2012. An investigation of career change using a narrative and story-telling inquiry. South African Journal of Human Resource Management 10(2): 1–11.

Chinyamurindi, W.T. 2016a. Using narrative analysis to understand factors influencing career choice amongst a sample of distance learning students in South Africa. South African Journal of Psychology 46(3): 390-400.

Chinyamurindi, W.T. 2016b. A narrative investigation into the meaning and experience of career success: Perspectives from women participants. South African Journal of Human Resource Management 14(1): 1-11.

Chirkov, V., M. Vansteenkiste, R, Tao and M. Lynch. 2007. The role of self-determined motivation and goals for study abroad in the adaptation of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 31(2): 199–222.

Forbush, E. and B. Foucault-Welles. 2016. Social media use and adaptation among Chinese students beginning to study in the United States. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 50: 1–12.

Given, L.M. 2016. 100 Questions (and answers) about qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Guan, J., S. Tregonning and L. Keenan. 2008. Social interaction and participation: Formative evaluation of online CME modules. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions 28(3): 172–179.

Hausmann, P.R., L. R. Ye., J. W. Schofield and R.L. Woods. 2009. Sense of belonging and persistence in White and African-American first-year students. Research in Higher Education 50: 649-669.

Hegedorn, L. S. and L.Y. Zhang. 2012. The use of agents in recruiting Chinese undergraduates. http://www.usc.edu/programs/cerpp/docs/HagedornandZhang.pdf (accessed 12 June 2016).

Hemis. 2014. https://chet.org.za/data/sahe-open-data (accessed 5 June 2016).

Ishimura, Y and J.C. Bartlett. 2014. Are librarians equipped to teach international students? A survey of current practices and recommendations for training. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 40: 313–321

Jackson, P and P. Sullivan. (eds.). 2011. International students and academic libraries: Initiatives for success. Chicago, IL: Association of College and Research Libraries.

Khawaja, N.G and J. Dempsey. 2008. A comparison of international and domestic tertiary students in Australia. Australian Journal of Guidance and Counselling 18: 30–46.

Kolesovs, A., and Melne, I. 2017. Predictors of the sense of belonging to country: Exploring a new model. Proceedings of the International Scientific Conference, Volume 1, 26-27 May 2017.

Krause, K., R.J., Hartley and C. McInnis. 2005. The first year experience in Australian universities: Findings from a decade of national studies. Canberra: Australian Department of Education, Science and Training.

Lambert, N.M., Stillman, T.F. & Hicks, J.A. 2013. To belong is to matter: Sense of belonging enhances meaning in life. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(11): 1418 – 1427.

Li, G., Chen, W., and Duanmu, J. 2010. Determinants of international student's academic performances: A comparison between Chinese and other international students. Journal of Studies in International Education, 14, 389-405.

Liu, G. and D. Winn. 2009. Chinese graduate students and the Canadian academic library: A user study at the University of Windsor. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 35(6): 565–573.

Loftus, S and J. Higgs. 2010. Researching the individual in workplace research. Journal of Education & Work 23(4): 377-388.

Martinez-Callaghan, J. & Gill-Lacruz, M. 2017. Developing identity, sense of belonging and social networks among Japanese immigrants in Scotland and Spain. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 26(2): 241-261.

Maslow, A. H. 1987. Motivation and personality. 3rd ed. Boston, MA: Addison-Wesley

Mansour, G., Bahman, B., and Hadis, E. 2011. Factors Affecting Accounting Students’ Performance: The Case of Students at The Islamic Azad University. International Conference on Education and Educational Psychology. Social and Behavioral Sciences, 29, 122 – 128.

McCormack, C. 2000. From interview transcript to interpretative story: Part 1. Viewing the transcript through multiple lenses. Field Methods 12(4): 282–297.

McMahon, P. 2011. Chinese voices: Chinese learners and their experiences of living and studying in the United Kingdom. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 33, 401-414.

Meho, L. I. 2006. E-mail interviewing in qualitative research: A methodological discussion. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 57(10): 1284-1295.

Mohammad, A. 2010. Relationship between Self-esteem and Academic Achievement amongst Pre-University Students. Journal of Applied Sciences, 10 (20): 2474-2477.

Nzivo, C. and C. Chuanfu. 2013. International students' perception of library services and information resources in Chinese academic libraries. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 39: 129–137.

Redfield, R., R. Linton and M. J. Herskovits. 1936. Memorandum for the study of acculturation. American Anthropologist 38(1): 149–152.

Reuben, S and S. Bobat. 2014. Constructing racial hierarchies of skill – Experiencing affirmative action in a South African organisation: A qualitative review. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology 40(1): 1–12.

Rientes, B., S., Beausaert, T., Grohnert, S. Niemantsverdriet and P. Kommers. 2012. Understanding academic performance of international students: The role of ethnicity, academic and social integration. Higher Education 63(6): 685–700.

Shao, X. and A. Scherlen. 2011. Chinese academic libraries serving international students and scholars: An assessment of three case studies. The International Information & Library Review 43(1): 53–61

Sawir, E., S. Marginson., A. Deumert., C. Nyland and G. Ramia. 2008. Loneliness and international students: An Australian study. Journal of Studies in International Education 12: 148–180.

Sin, S.C.J 2015. Demographic differences in international students' information source uses and everyday information seeking challenges. The Journal of Academic Librarianship 41: 466–474

Sin, S.C.J and K.S. Kim. 2013. International students' everyday life information seeking: The informational value of social networking sites. Library and Information Science Research 35(2): 107–11.

Smith, R. A. and N. G. Khawaja. 2011. A review of the acculturation experiences of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 35(6): 699–713.

Strayhorn, T. L. 2012. College students' sense of belonging: A key to educational success for all students. New York, NY: Routledge.

Tatar, S. 2005. Classroom participation by international students: The case of Turkish graduate students. Journal of Studies in International Education 9(4): 337-355.

Tinto, V. 1975. Dropout from higher education: A theoretical synthesis of recent research. Review of Educational Research 45(1): 89–125.

Tinto, V. 1993. Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Tobin, G. A and C.M. Begley. 2004. Methodological rigor within a qualitative framework. Journal of Advanced Nursing 48(4): 388-396.

Tompson, H. B. and G.H. Tompson. 1996. Confronting diversity issues in the classroom with strategies to improve satisfaction and retention of international students. Journal of Education for Business 72(1): 53–57.

Townsend, P. & H. J. Poh. 2008. An exploratory study of international students studying and living in a regional area. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education 18: 240–263.

Trice, A. 2003. Faculty perceptions of graduate international students: The benefits and challenges. Journal of Studies in International Education 7: 379–403.

Wang, C., K., Andre and K.M. Greenwood. 2015. Chinese students studying at Australian universities with specific reference to nursing students: A narrative literature review. Nurse Education Today 35: 609–619

Ward, C. 1996. Acculturation. In Handbook of intercultural training, eds. D. B. Landis, and S. Rabi. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Ward, C. and W. Searle. 1991. The impact of value discrepancies and cultural identity on psychological and sociocultural adjustment of sojourners. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 15(2): 209–224.

Yao, C.W. (2016). Unfulfilled Expectations: Influence of Chinese International Students’ Roommate Relationships on Sense of Belonging. Journal of International Students 6(3): 762-778

Zhang, J. and P. Goodson. 2011. Predictors of international students’ psychosocial adjustment to life in the United States: A systematic review. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 35: 139–162.




DOI: https://doi.org/10.20853/32-3-2581

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


eISSN: 1753-5913

Copyright © 2016 South African Journal of Higher Education

Hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2016.

Creative Commons License -CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Disclaimer:
This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.