Wide-lens angle: International students’ constructions of academic support in a selected South African university
The study is an attempt to better understand the complex nature of academic support in higher education, particularly, drawing from the voices of the existing international postgraduate students at a selected university in South Africa. This qualitative study is explorative and participatory in nature and draws on the question: what are the international postgraduate students’ constructions of academic support in a South African university? 12 full time international students were purposively selected. The main findings are illustrated and discussed under 3 broad themes namely: intrapersonal relationships and resilience’s; improved interpersonal relationships among international students; as well as the effect of postgraduate strategic teaching and learning programmes. Significantly, the findings of this study revealed that the international postgraduate students reported a slightly higher level of agency towards their academic activities. A possible explanation may be found in the diverse set of university activities that students access for support. This paper concludes by exploring what lessons emerge when participatory visual methodologies, such as photovoice, are integrated into research with students about their own learning.
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