Experiences of International Postgraduate Students at UKZN form Subject Matter for Thesis
The experiences of international postgraduate students studying at UKZN formed the topic of a thesis by Masters in Educational Psychology cum laude graduate, Ms Peace Ginika Nwokedi.
‘As an international student in a foreign university and being away from home, we encounter many challenges. However, despite these challenges there are some positive aspects of our experiences that support our learning,’ said Nwokedi.
Her study challenges the argument that international students are ‘victims of pathology’ in experiencing only hardship in their host environment which negatively affects their learning. The study found that international students learn through their interrelationships and interactions with people, resources and the environment, which help develop their personal experiences, improve their knowledge, develop skills and enable change in behaviour to achieve academic goals.
The study also showed that the use of photovoice (a participatory visual method to generate data) enabled dialogue among the international students and brought visual awareness to international postgraduate students’ ideas about their learning experiences.
Discussing support she received during her studies, Nwokedi said: ‘My family and friends were always encouraging and praying for me. My supervisor Dr Fumane Khanare is efficient, kind and caring. She was always there to assist and encourage me during the study.’
Nwokedi plans to pursue a PhD in Educational Psychology.