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Dealing with difference : developing an understanding of international postgraduate joint degree programmes in business in London and France

Bamford, Jan Katherine (2014) Dealing with difference : developing an understanding of international postgraduate joint degree programmes in business in London and France. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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This thesis examines the student experience of international higher education through a case study of joint Masters degrees in business taught in two countries. The thesis explored how the ‘joint degree’ experience impacts on the way students undertake their learning and intercultural ‘negotiations’. The focus on cultural interaction, international mobility, relationality between students and the way students experience the learning environment as dimensions of their experience furthers an understanding of international higher education. The exploration of the individual students’ ‘lived reality’ demonstrates the complexity and limitations of such programmes of study as well as the importance of culture, being the fabric of meaning for individuals (Geertz, 1973) in relation to and as part of the educational experience of a joint degree. This overarching dimension of culture is given prominence in this work, not only in terms of the culture of the institutions that the students study in, but also in terms of the different national education systems, of which those institutions are part and more generally in terms of the different cultures that students have to negotiate as part of their experience. The research approach was through a case study method, relying on the use of mixed methods for data collection to provide a ‘thick’ description of the experiences of joint degrees and a triangulation of the findings for each data set. The thematic analysis of the data focussed on individuals’ construction of their reality in order to gain an understanding of that reality. The concept of ‘relationality’ is introduced to refer to the learning that occurs as a result of the recognition of the ‘other’. It denotes a learning environment where students learn with and from other students and as a result of their country mobility. As a consequence they develop their intercultural awareness. This relationality is seen as a cornerstone of the experience of joint degrees and is significant to the achievement of inter-cultural learning.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Controlled Keywords: Mixed methods, international higher education, joint degrees,intercultural awareness, student mobility
Subjects: Departments > Lifelong and Comparative Education
Depositing User: Mr Graeme Naylor
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2014 12:48
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2015 15:12
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