The Role of Language and Culture in Postgraduate International Students’ Academic Adjustment and Academic Success
Qualitative Insights from Malaysia
Keywords:Malaysia, postgraduate international students, academic success, challenges
How do language and culture pose adjustment challenges that hinder the academic success of postgraduate international students? This article answers this question based on a thematic analysis of 55 semi-structured qualitative interviews conducted with postgraduate international students and academic and professional staff members at a Malaysian research-intensive public university. The results show that language and culture are influential in a range of academic (language, supervision, research training) and social (group work, friendship) adjustment challenges. The analysis highlights how these challenges hinder academic success as a result of limited or frustrated pathways for students’ linguacultural development. We conclude that future academic research and university policy to support postgraduate international students may pay greater attention to cross-cultural, linguistic and linguacultural issues.
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