umu.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
“The thorny path towards future life!!”: International students’ experiences and feelings of stress: a qualitative study in Umeå
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Introduction: Mental health among international students is one of the most important topics that have been studied in different countries worldwide, but none was done in Sweden. This thesis will explore both mental health problems with focus on stress among internationally mobile students in Umeå and the causes behind these problems. The general aim of this study will be to focus on exploring the experiences and feelings of these students in Umeå regarding culture shock, seasonal effect, social support network and academic stress.

Methods: A qualitative methodology was used for this study. In depth semi-structured interviews were done with 4 international students in Umeå University from both genders who have spent at least six months in this city without returning to their original countries and these students were selected from four different continents. They were interviewed in regard to their experiences and feelings toward the main stressors that they can face when moving to a new city. The data was analyzed using thematic analysis which consists of both the deductive approach using the theory of stress and coping and the inductive approach where the researcher gave the data the opportunity to express itself freely.

Results: This section includes the outcomes of the thematic analysis that was carried out. The first inductive approach of analysis revealed one main theme cultural balance and previous experience (globalization), which discloses the cultural diversity, distance and balance perceived by the internationally mobile students from the four different continents when they compare between their home culture and the Swedish culture. And how previous knowledge about the Swedish culture (globalization) can play a role in reducing the culture shock effect. The Second deductive approach of analysis was done by applying the Stress and Cognitive theory of stress and coping to the codes, which revealed two additional main themes. The first one is Stages of culture shock, which was analyzed using the emotions obtained by applying the theory. It shows the different stages experienced by the international students. The second one is coping strategies and individual differences, which shows the different coping mechanisms used by the students from the four different continents.

Conclusion: leaving your home to study abroad can be a stressful experience even if you have previous knowledge about the new country, which can result in developing some mental health problems. Seasonal differences in particular are one of the most difficult things for international students to deal with, especially in Umeå where winter can be long and dark. Culture shock, on the other hand, can be another stressful situation, where you need to understand its different dimensions like cultural distance, balance and differences. Also culture shock stages, and its related emotion and coping mechanisms should be studied well to be able to find solutions for it. Social support network and how it interacts with students’ mental health should also be taken into account when leaving your people back-home. Of course study performance should not be neglected also when we need to study mental health problems as studying is the first reason why international students wanted to travel. After exploring all these aspects in particular implications for practice can be implemented to reduce the effect of the negative side of moving to a new country.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 39
Series
Centre for Public Health Report Series, ISSN 1651-341X ; 2017:23
Keywords [en]
International students, stress, Umeå
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141583OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-141583DiVA, id: diva2:1155563
Educational program
Master's Programme in Public Health
Presentation
2017-05-23, Natural Sciences building, Room N280, Umeå University, Umeå, 14:00 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-12-19 Created: 2017-11-08 Last updated: 2017-12-19Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Alfakir, Firas
By organisation
Epidemiology and Global Health
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 900 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf