Overcoming the challenges with an optimistic attitude: A study on the perceptions of international research students
Fan, S and Yeoh, JSW, Overcoming the challenges with an optimistic attitude: A study on the perceptions of international research students, Internet Journal of Language, Culture and Society, (35) pp. 12-18. ISSN 1327-774X (2012) [Refereed Article]
As one distinct student group in Australian tertiary education institutions, international students form a
significant stakeholder group. Compared to the international students who are undertaking undergraduate or postgraduate course works, international research students hold more distinct characteristics.
This research investigated challenges that this particular learner group face in their studies and daily
life at one particular university context: the University of Tasmania. It aimed to provide insightful information and guidance not only for current and future international research students in Australian
universities, but also for various educational services and relevant government agencies to provide
more effective support to them. Qualitative research method was used to gain deeper insights of the
issue. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten participants who were selected from different academic disciplines. Data were analysed by qualitative data analysis software NVivo. Constructivist grounded theory was the basis of data analysis. The findings indicated that physical health and
psychological wellbeing are two dominant factors influencing international research studentsí study
and daily life, apart from academic factors, supportive environment, and interpersonal relationships
with supervisors. Coping strategies used in handling physical health and psychological wellbeing are
also examined to give references for current and prospective international research students in the
Australian university context.
international research students, challenges, perceptions