Travelling to the West’: voices of Algerian PhD students’ transition to Britain

PhD Thesis

Sadoudi, Y. 2021. Travelling to the West’: voices of Algerian PhD students’ transition to Britain. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Centre for Language and Linguisitcs
AuthorsSadoudi, Y.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nametor of Philosophy

Despite the increase of research on international students’ transitions, the complexity of their adaptation experience is yet to be fully understood. This study seeks to provide an in-depth ethnographic account of a particular group of Algerian doctorate students’ transition to Britain. Particularly, it investigates their experience of ‘travelling to the West’. It is important to mention that the phrase ‘the West’ emerged from the data, and was initially introduced by the participants. In this study, I was interested in examining participants’ expectations of life in Britain, and the extent to which these relate to their lived experiences, and how these experiences affect their identity construction. Data was collected using multiple method tools, including thirteen interviews, five participant observations, and a research journal. A prominent component of the participants’ journey of ‘travelling to the West’ is ‘the ideal West’ narrative carried with them from their upbringings. This narrative represents participants’ stories about how they imagine life in Britain as ideal considering it part of what they imagined to be the West. Data analysis also suggests that the participants seem to have experienced two kinds of transitions: geographical and role transition. The former is related to the physical displacement of leaving their ‘home’ country and fly miles away to Britain. While, the latter (i.e. role transition) entails the participants taking on a new role of becoming independent doctorate researchers. Although the participants have faced many challenges, they seem to have found the support systems and strategies necessary to cope with their two transitions. Finally, regarding their identity construction, participants claim having developed many skills, and grew at many levels, be it academic, social, or personal. Findings of this study challenge the assimilationist discourses related to international students’ transition. Contrary to previous studies which imply that so-labelled international students are culturally and academically deficient, this research suggests another reality. This small group of Algerian doctorate students demonstrated agency, and seem to have got the appropriate skills and competences to navigate their study-abroad journey.

KeywordsAlgerian doctorate students; Transition to Britain; International students’
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Deposited22 Aug 2022
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