Empowering International Students to Succeed

An Innovative and Beneficial Initiative for Health Professions





academic success, coping, dietetics


International students report higher sociocultural and academic stress when settling into a new university compared with their local counterparts. Three disciplines in the health professions collaborated to create a transition program addressing international student health and well-being in Australia. Commencing students and senior student mentors participated in a four-session program of activities to reflect on their current study/work practices and learn self-management strategies. They developed plans for coping with cultural, language, academic, and social barriers, and assisted in improving physical and mental health and well-being. Of the 26 participants who attended sessions, 15 participated in in-depth interviews. Facilitating adjustment, establishing relationships, gaining new skills and knowledge, and transforming beliefs and behavior were the four themes identified that captured and explicated the impact of the initiative. Although limited by the number of student participants, the program demonstrated a positive impact in creating a supportive learning environment for international students.

Author Biographies

Joy Penman, Monash University, Australia

JOY PENMAN, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Nursing and Midwifery, Monash University. Her major research interests lie in the area of higher education teaching and research, palliative, spiritual and pastoral care and migrant health.

Gulzar Malik, Monash University & La Trobe University

GULZAR MALIK, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Nursing and Midwifery, La Trobe University. Her major research interests lie in the areas of evidence-based practice, non-pharmacological pain management, Collaborative online international learning, flipped classroom and international students.

Eli Chu, Monash University, Australia

MAND YEE ELI CHU, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Primary and Allied Health Care Monash University. Her major research interests lie in the areas of simulation-based education, higher education research, occupational therapy professional practice education, rehabilitation, health outcomes and multiculturalism.

Giselle Kett, Monash University Australia

GISELLE KETT, MA(AppLing), is a lecturer in the Student Academic Support Unit in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University. Her major research interests lie in the area of academic literacies, academic integrity, higher education research, discipline specific language acquisition, healthcare communication, and English as an additional language (EAL).

Kerry Hampton, kerry.hampton@monash.edu

KERRY HAMPTON, PhD, is a specialist in natural fertility care and lecturer in the school of nursing and midwifery at Monash University. Her major research interests lie in the areas of fertility awareness, family planning and primary healthcare.

Nikos Thomacos, Monash University Australia

NIKOS THOMACOS, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer in the Occupational Therapy Department at Monash University. His major research interests lie in the areas of social support and supportive relationships across the lifespan; ageing, retirement, and transition, and well-being; and, mental health and well-being of minority and marginalised populations.

Maya Ebrahimi-Zanjani, Monash University Australia

Maya Ebrahimi-Zanjani, PhD is a lecturer at Monash University. Her major interests lie in the area of ageing.

Yaping Zhong, Monash University Australia

Yaping Zhong, PhD, Teaching associate, Research interests: the transition experience of migrant nurses, resilience of international students in tertiary education, and education of clinical nursing specialists.

Wendy McKenzie, Monash University Australia

WENDY McKenzie, PhD, PhD, is an Adjunct Associate Professor (Education-focused) in the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences at Monash University. Her major research interests are educational and cognitive psychology.


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How to Cite

Penman, J., Malik, G. ., Chu, E., Kett, G. ., Hampton, K., Thomacos, N. ., Ebrahimi-Zanjani, M. ., Zhong, Y., & McKenzie, W. . (2021). Empowering International Students to Succeed: An Innovative and Beneficial Initiative for Health Professions . Journal of International Students, 11(4), 832–852. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v11i4.2226



Research Articles