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International Students - Transitions into Scottish Higher Education: A Scoping Study

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Scotland, like many other English speaking countries in the world, has seen an increase in the number of international students coming into its Higher Education (HE) sector in recent years, particularly from East Asia. This has led to discussion and debate about the transition experiences of those students, and how they might best be supported.

The Student Transitions Enhancement Theme has provided an opportunity to conduct a scoping study to consider the key features of international students' transitions and how they are supported by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Scotland. In this way, it is hoped that individual HEIs will be better informed to meet the needs of those students.

The key features of international students' transitions lie mainly in the challenges they face when transitioning: socio-cultural integration, English language ability, and academic expectations and integration, along with the resultant impact of those challenges.

These challenges do not appear to affect all international students equally - those from the EU and English-speaking countries often cope better than those from East Asia, for example.
Irene Bell, Higher Education Consultant
Publication Date: October 2016

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