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Open Access Migration and education: A narrative approach to the experience of foreign students in Portugal

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Non-English-speaking countries are attracting burgeoning numbers of foreign students, yet research regarding these students' experiences remains rather scarce. In line with global tendencies, Portuguese universities are seeing substantial growth in foreign student enrolment. This paper addresses the lived experiences of foreign students in the period following their arrival in a new cultural context, discussing the role that language and social support play in their adaptation. Rooted in a narrative approach, this paper is based on 41 indepth biographic interviews. The findings indicate that the ways in which students deal with the challenges of living and studying in a foreign country are highly diverse. Nevertheless, a universal aspect of their narratives is the central role assumed by social support. Although social support has beneficial outcomes for foreign students' adaptation, if provided inadequately it can lead to less positive outcomes and even to marginalization.

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Keywords: ADAPTATION CHALLENGES; FOREIGN STUDENTS; LANGUAGE OBSTACLES; SOCIAL SUPPORT; STUDY ABROAD

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

    LRE welcomes relevant articles and book reviews. Please email them to [email protected]

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