African University Students’ Intercultural Experiences with Impeding Factors: Case from Northern Cyprus

Education Faculty, Cyprus Social Sciences University, North Cyprus, Mersin 10 Turkey.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2018.77.5


Purpose: Like all foreign university students throughout their university lives abroad, African university students (AUSs) similarly face impediments while they study in Northern Cyprus (NC). Their intercultural experiences yield managing factors contributing to impediments throughout their university lives in NC. This study aimed at identifying the perceptions of AUSs regarding factors contributing to impediments and their frequency throughout their study period in NC.

Research Methods: The study adopted an interpretive methodology within a qualitative research paradigm. Data were collected through focus-group interviews (FGIs) and in-depth interviews (I-DIs). Focus group members (FGMs) were 50 AUSs studying in various departments and various universities in NC. I-DIs took place with 75 different African university students (dAUSs) studying at various departments of universities throughout NC. Data were analysed using NVivo software.

Findings: Compared results showed that AUSs suffered from various adaptation problems in their social life, social relations, education, financial barriers and health. The study provided data regarding how AUSs view social life, how they perceive relationships among local people, local students and themselves, how they feel about their education and the educational environment, how they manage their finances and how they handle their health problems in NC. Adapting to a host country and culture requires that legal authorities, higher education providers and managers are one step ahead of the system. Implications for further research and practical suggestions were made throughout the study.

Implications for Research and Practice: The results emphasized the importance to be given to English language as a primary foreign language, a part of career paths and an indicator of various job opportunities. Similarly, with support of integrative motivation, the students’ can set more realistic goals towards integrating into the international community. Studies in relation to integrative motivation among foreign students facilitated omitting the impediments for university students.

Keywords: Higher education, intercultural competence, intercultural identity.