Exploring lived experiences of international postgraduate students studying at a South African university.
Khanyile, Zanele Yvone.
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South Africa has emerged as an educational destination of choice in the region with its inbound rate far exceeding its outbound rate. South African universities are chosen based on the promise of a constitutionally and politically welcoming university environment. This study was carried in one university in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. The study is underpinned by interpretivist paradigm with phenomenology used as a methodology. Semi-structured interviews were used to generate qualitative data. Systems School Leadership theory was adopted as a lens to frame the analysis. The findings revealed that international postgraduate students lived experiences were characterised by issues such as feelings of being foreigners in a foreign land. International students also faced language problems, and that the university made no tangible attempts to support them in their plights. Marginalisation in the area of sporting activities, as well as a host of other discriminatory practices, dominated their descriptions of their experiences. From the international students’ perspectives, leadership in the university was not doing enough to ensure that their lives were less unbearable and more comfortable considering the fact that they lived in a foreign country. Based on a number of findings, a number of recommendations are made about what the university leadership should do to improve their university lives.