International students from Africa : the impact that living in South Africa has on one's sense of identity.

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dc.contributor.author Zar, Doron
dc.date.accessioned 2011-04-11T10:19:07Z
dc.date.available 2011-04-11T10:19:07Z
dc.date.issued 2011-04-11
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/9404
dc.description.abstract This research report concerns the effect that living in South Africa has on international students’ (from Africa) sense of identity. In general, living abroad has been found to be challenging and traumatic in dealing with an unfamiliar environment and a different cultural mentality. In South Africa this may be further complicated by the atmosphere of xenophobia. There has been much research on the problems that international students encounter whilst living abroad, but there is a paucity of research on international students in South Africa, and in general, there is a paucity of research on understanding (from a psychoanalytic perspective) the impact that living abroad has on international student’s sense of identity. The present study involved semi-structured interviews with international students from Africa, at the University of the Witwatersrand, asking questions about the difficulties in adapting to life in South Africa, as well as the shifts that the participants perceived in their identity as a result. The analysis was qualitative in nature and both thematic content analysis and interpretative phenomenological analysis were used in order to capture both a naturalistic description, as well as a richer, more interpretive sense of the data in terms of how the participants made sense of their experiences in South Africa. Analysis revealed: a) a range of difficulties in acculturating to life in South Africa, including feelings of loneliness, fear and alienation; b) a number of successful adaptive strategies, such as relying on social support from family members and other international students; c) a range of intrapsychic responses (defined psychodynamically), such as regression and splitting. The latter were discussed within the framework of Erikson’s theory of identity development. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.title International students from Africa : the impact that living in South Africa has on one's sense of identity. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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