Using Arts-Based Methods and Reflection to Support Postgraduate International Students' Wellbeing and Employability through Challenging Times




international students, reflection, wellbeing, challenges, future, employment


This paper reports on an arts-based research study that aimed to support international students to reflect on their studies and personal working lives during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The authors implemented a reflective process involving mindfulness and body mapping to support international students in expressing their experiences and feelings during this time. Results show that the international students gained a deeper understanding of what they experienced personally and how these experiences were both different and similar to their peers. The process enabled students to acknowledge and accept challenges faced as well as provided a safe avenue to do so. They reported the powerful nature of the arts-based methods in helping them think positively about their studies and future working lives.


Author Biographies

Marthy Watson

MARTHY WATSON is a Lecturer at the University of Southern Queensland. She has been an arts educator for over 20 years and taught the arts in secondary and primary schools South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Marthy has extensive experience in leading and developing course materials in the area of literacy and arts education.  She has worked on numerous research projects supporting culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Her current research focuses on reflective practice thought arts-based learning.  She strongly advocates for the arts and regularly presents at conferences and arts workshops in schools. Email:

Georgina Barton

GEORGINA BARTON, PhD, is a Professor of literacies and pedagogy in the School of Education at the University of Southern Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Before being an academic, Georgina taught in schools for over 20 years including teaching English in South India with Australian Volunteers International. She has been an acting principal, coordinator of international students, and a lead teacher in the area of literacy. Georgina also has extensive experience in teaching the arts in schools and universities and often utilises the arts to support students’ literacy learning outcomes. She has over 120 publications in the areas of the arts and literacy. She is an editor of a book titled Professional Learning for International Students: Exploring Theory and Practice. Email:


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How to Cite

Watson, M., & Barton, G. (2020). Using Arts-Based Methods and Reflection to Support Postgraduate International Students’ Wellbeing and Employability through Challenging Times. Journal of International Students, 10(S2), 101–118.