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Coping with stress: the perspective of international students

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This study explores how stress is experienced by international students in the creative arts at the University of the Arts, London. 141 students from six geographical areas were interviewed in their own language by social science postgraduates from various institutions within the University of London. The findings are in line with those of much current work on international students generally, though some are specific to the creative arts. While problems connected with language are the most widespread cause of stress, other less obvious issues are also important. Alongside the well-known phenomenon of culture shock is what has been called academic shock or study shock the difficulties of transition to a different system of teaching and learning, and of integration with peers and communication with tutors (which might also be described as social shock). The problems experienced by international students are not all peculiar or specific to them, but such students, a long way from their own cultural, social and linguistic environment, are more likely to feel the cumulative nature of the potential difficulties to which they are exposing themselves by studying abroad.

Keywords: creative arts; international students; stress

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: CLIP CETL, University of the Arts, London.

Publication date: May 19, 2008

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  • What are the challenges of learning and teaching in art, design and communication? The peer-reviewed journal of Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education aims to inform, stimulate and promote the development of research in the field by providing a forum for debate arising from findings as well as theory and methodologies.
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