The experiences of Zimbabwean students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Globalization has played an influential role in increasing the number of international students studying in foreign institutions. Internationalization and globalization has taken us by storm and are phenomena that cannot be ignored. It is cognisance of the dynamic changes engineered by internationalization and globalization, and my experience of being a foreign student in South Africa that motivated this study into the experiences of international students’ particularly Zimbabwean students studying in South Africa at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The main aim of the research was to understand the experiences of Zimbabwean students studying at UKZN. The study adopted a qualitative research paradigm and was guided by structural social work theory. The sample comprised 15 Zimbabwean students studying at UKZN, Howard College campus who were interviewed using semi-structured interviews which were audio-recorded and transcribed. The data were analyzed using thematic content analysis. The major findings of the study were that Zimbabwean students at UKZN had both negative and positive experiences. The negative experiences include language barrier, financial challenges, xenophobia, accommodation problems, differential treatment of students, dealing with cultural differences, pressure from sponsor and obstacles in accessing study permits. For the positive experiences the themes that emerged were prestige and status, supportive and dedicated lectures, friendship and family, new intercultural experiences and being validated.