The acculturation, language and learning experiences of international nursing students: Implications for nursing education
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Background: International or foreign students are those who enrol in universities outside their country of citizenship. They face many challenges acculturating to and learning in a new country and education system, particularly if they study in an additional language. Objectives: This qualitative inquiry aimed to explore the learning and acculturating experiences of international nursing students to identify opportunities for teaching innovation to optimise the experiences and learning of international nursing students. Methods: Undergraduate and postgraduate international nursing students were recruited from one campus of an Australian university to take part in semi-structured interviews. A purposive and theoretically saturated sample of 17 students was obtained. Interviews were audio-recorded and field notes and interview data were thematically analysed. Results: Expressing myself and Finding my place were the two major themes identified from the international student data. International nursing students identified that it took them longer to study in comparison with domestic students and that stress negatively influenced communication, particularly in the clinical setting. Additionally international nursing students identified the need to find supportive opportunities to speak English to develop proficiency. Clinical placement presented the opportunity to speak English and raised the risk of being identified as lacking language proficiency or being clinically unsafe. Initially, international nursing students felt isolated and it was some time before they found their feet. In this time, they experienced otherness and discrimination. Conclusions: International nursing students need a safe place to learn so they can adjust and thrive in the university learning community. Faculty and clinical educators must be culturally competent; they need to understand international nursing students' needs and be willing and able to advocate for and create an equitable environment that is appropriate for international nursing students' learning
Nurse Education Today
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