The Lived Experiences of International Students Who's Family Remains At Home


  • Theresa Harvey Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Carolyn Robinson Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Anthony Welch Central Queensland University, Australia



international students, connectedness, isolation, acculturation, internationalization of nursing


The significant increase of international students, who leave their family at home, to study abroad, especially in the discipline of nursing, has implications for educational practice. This study’s aim was to explore adult international students’ experiences of leaving spouse and children – for further education overseas. A descriptive phenomenological approach to inquiry using Colaizzi’s (1978) analysis framework revealed four themes: living with emotional turmoil, living in a world of negativity, living with an expectation to cope and driven by personal ambition. The findings identified a hidden world of emotional trauma, psychological stress, and negativity, specifically related to relinquishing their role in the family. The authors conclude that an ‘open door policy’ that provides individual counselling and timely support for academic and social purposes is necessary.

Author Biographies

Theresa Harvey, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

THERESA HARVEY is an Academic and currently is serving as the Director of Clinical Partnerships in the School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology. Her research interests include clinical education for both students and health professionals, and supporting culturally and linguistically diverse students to transition in to the Australian education and health care environment. 

Carolyn Robinson, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

CAROLYN ROBINSON is a Sessional Academic in the School of Nursing Queensland University of Technology. She has focused her career on designing and presenting multidisciplinary workshops to meet the specific needs of both students and health professionals in relation to clinical practice and supervision of people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. 

Anthony Welch, Central Queensland University, Australia

ANTHONY WELCH is Associate Professor Mental Health Nursing and, Assistant Dean, Community Engagement at Central Queensland University, Noosa. His research expertise is in qualitative and mixed methods modes of inquiry. His particular foci of research is on mental health, resilience, suicide prevention, men’s health, spirituality and recovery. 




How to Cite

Harvey, T., Robinson, C., & Welch, A. (2018). The Lived Experiences of International Students Who’s Family Remains At Home. Journal of International Students, 7(3), 748–763.



Research Articles (English)