International students' networks: a case study in a UK university

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Taha, N. ; Cox, A. (2016)
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis

The great influx of international students into UK universities has led to internationalisation becoming an important issue. Previous studies have focused on the integration of home and international students, illustrating a lack of intercultural interaction. Yet there has been a lack of research investigating international students' networks and how these networks evolve over time. The study reported in the current paper sought to fill this gap. The research findings were interpreted through the lens of community of practice (COP) and social networks (SN) theories. Findings confirmed that international students have four distinct types of network. The class did not evolve towards a single cohesive network, rather there were changing clusters of relationship. The findings showed that although co-national factors are important at the beginning of students' learning, they are not always the main influences shaping student networks. The findings are significant for both institutions and teachers.
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