- What challenges do new students have in ‘fitting in’ to their university life, where there are people from many different backgrounds?
- How can they overcome these challenges?
Master’s students carried out their own action research through a cyclical sequence of noticing something they found uncomfortable and selecting it to focus on, reflecting on why they felt uncomfortable, observing how others behaved, and adjusting their own behaviour.
- The most frequently selected issue was greetings – seemingly easy, but the cultural differences (even within Europe) disoriented people and they feared it was affecting their success in forming new friendships.
- They found that through a cyclical sequence of careful observation, reflection and the trying out of new behaviour, they became more confident and comfortable in using different patterns of greeting.
To find out more:
Spencer-Oatey, H. (2018). Transformative learning for social integration: Overcoming the challenge of greetings. Intercultural Education, 29(2), 301–315.
Spencer-Oatey, H. & A. Davidson (2018). The 4S Stretch Tool: Developing behavioural flexibility in intercultural encounters. V.2