Many Australian universities engage in significant efforts to recruit international students (Adams, Leventhal, & Connelly, 2012), but comparatively hire less in strategies to ensure their academic and social adjustment (Pekerti, Fons, Moeller, & Okimoto, 2020). In seeking strategies for enhanced student experience, Australian University Quality Agencies offers supports across universities in planning models for identifying student needs and creating mechanisms that focus the quality student experience, engagement and language outcomes (Burdett & Crossman, 2012). Like many international students, international PhD students meet situations where they have to deal with a range of language problems, cultural differences and personal matters while learning a new academic culture in a new country (Young et al., 2019). Negative academic experiences can adversely affect their retention and achievement (Burdett & Crossman, 2012). Brown and Watson (2010) suggest that gender also has implications on students' performance during a PhD journey because PhD studies demand dedicated time which leads female students to experience layers of complexities and stress to balancing home and academic life. Women feel torn between their family and student roles. My research is exploring international female doctoral students' academic and social experiences and provide an intersectional understanding of the experiences from their standpoint. I inquired participants' narratives within a web of relationships with other people, with places and with the institutions. The research findings highlight the complexity and diversity of international female doctoral students’ experiences, revealing their expectations and reality, which will allow educators, policymakers and future students to better prepare for the future.
Sabrina Syed, University of Newcastle, Australia
Stream: Higher education
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