La Trobe
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Case studies of overseas Kenyan students at La Trobe University, Australia: academic and related challenges

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posted on 2023-01-11, 13:22 authored by John K. T. Kole
Abstract: This study involves an exploration of the perceptions of four overseas Kenyan students about their educational experiences at La Trobe University. A related aim of this research is to find out how these four students previous learning in Kenya affects their learning and living experiences in Australia, for instance, in terms of demands associated with differences in learning and teaching styles, cultural expectations and proficiencies in English. A non-positivist, qualitative methodology is adopted for this research which employs an interview-based case study approach. Qualitative research demands that the world be approached with the assumption that nothing is trivial and that everything has the potential of being a clue which might unlock more comprehensive understanding of what is being researched. While the findings of this study confirm current understandings of the issues that international students commonly face, they also provide a more complex and individualized picture of the needs and aspirations of overseas Kenyan students. As the case studies demonstrate, the academic and related challenges four Kenyan students have encountered at La Trobe University are best understood in relation to several contexts. The difficulties these international students have experienced in the context of transition or border crossing - between two countries, cultures and educational systems - were exacerbated by inadequate pre-departure preparation and orientation on arrival.Incongruities between two educational systems - in particular between their prior teacher-centred schooling in Kenya and the unfamiliar student-centred university education in Australia - colour the academic and related challenges such students struggle to address, at least in their initial year at University. The broader, global context of the commodification and marketization of higher education - along with increasing strains of an under-resourced university sector in Australia - also impinge upon the lives of these four La Trobe students, in a variety of ways.

Originally part of the Australasian Digital Theses (ADT) database.

Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment for the requirements for the degree of [to the School of Education Studies], Faculty of Education, La Trobe University, Bundoora.


Center or Department

School of Educational Studies. Facutly of Education.

Thesis type

  • Masters

Awarding institution

La Trobe University

Year Awarded


Rights Statement

This thesis contained third party copyright material which has been removed. The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over all other content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis.

Data source

arrow migration 2023-01-10 00:15. Ref: latrobe:19723 (9e0739)