“Rules You Have to Know”: International and Domestic Student Encounters With Institutional Habitus Through Group Work

Laura C Seithers, Zhuldyz Amankulova, Christopher J. Johnstone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

As more universities internationalize, interest in engagement between international and domestic students has increased. University initiatives to bring students together often adopt a deficit approach dependent on international students’ adjustment to the host culture, overlooking the need for engagement to be a two-way exchange and the role of the institution in this process. Focusing on academic group work as a salient site of cross-national interaction, this study draws on analysis of focus group data to explore how institutional habitus or unwritten rules are enacted at a large U.S. university. Findings indicated that domestic students were better socialized to understand the habitus of the institution and tended to take charge in group work. In contrast, international students were seen as linguistically and academically deficient and were relegated to passive roles in a group. Important implications for practitioners and scholars of U.S. higher education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)384-402
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of International Students
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Journal of International Students.

Keywords

  • cross-national interactions
  • group work
  • institutional habitus
  • internationalization
  • U.S. higher education

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