Sociocultural and Psychological Acculturation Strategies of South African International Students in a Flemish University in Belgium

A Photovoice Study




acculturation, COVID-19, Erasmus, international students, mobility exchange, South Africa


Due to an increase in mobility programs, the number of South African international students is on the rise. Despite this increase there is a lack of research on South African international students. The acculturation challenges of South African international students, studying in Flanders, Belgium in a non-Anglophonic context was investigated. A Photovoice method explored barriers and facilitators in their adjustment process. Participants captured their experiences through a visual lens. Focus groups conducted, utilized images as prompts to the narratives. The data was analyzed using a thematic analysis approach. The two main themes identified were related to Sociocultural and Psychological adjustment. We adapted Berry’s bidimensional acculturation model, used it as an overarching framework and merged it with an Ubuntu African perspective. The data suggest that for facets of the host nation superficially rooted and easy to adapt to, participants generally adopted an assimilation strategy. Whereas a separation strategy was adopted for facets of the host nation that were deeply ingrained such as worldviews.


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How to Cite

Swarts, T., Hannes, K., & Rodriguez-Quiles, J. A. (2021). Sociocultural and Psychological Acculturation Strategies of South African International Students in a Flemish University in Belgium: A Photovoice Study. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 13(5), 177–195.



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