Understanding key dimensions of international postgraduate candidate transition and learning experiences

Document Type

Journal Article


Common Ground Publishing Pty Ltd


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Computing, Health and Science




Guilfoyle, A. (2006). Understanding Key Dimensions of International Postgraduate Student Transition and Learning Experiences. International Journal of Learning, 13(6). Available here


Though smaller in proportion to under graduate numbers, postgraduate international students occupy a critical space in the diversity outcomes bound to extending international student links. Optimizing their study experiences provides greater scope for diversified learning as well as benefits received by the host nation and the future development of inter cultural exchange and co-operation. However positive learning experiences abroad are contingent on successful transition to a new university and its culture. Following an extensive review of research on transitional factors affecting postgraduate student experiences; applied in an Grounded Theory analysis of in-depth qualitative interviews, the paper reports on the experiences of a sample (N =30) International Postgraduate Students. It identifies a set of key dimensions operating at the intra-personal, inter-personal, inter-group and societal levels, which can subtly affect their transition to positive international learning experiences. These help qualify the r ole of support from teachers and supervisors. The conclusion reflects on broadened definitions of learning and Universities better supporting learning through establishing successful transitions of their international postgraduates.