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Investigating Attitudes Toward International Students: Program and Policy Implications for Social Integration and International Education

Authors

  • Colleen Ward,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, Victoria University of Wellington
      *Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Colleen Ward, Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, PO Box 600, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand [e-mail: Colleen.Ward@vuw.ac.nz].
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  • Anne-Marie Masgoret,

    1. Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, Victoria University of Wellington
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  • Michelle Gezentsvey

    1. Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, Victoria University of Wellington
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  • This research was funded by Education New Zealand (A6-2005) and the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Colleen Ward, Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, PO Box 600, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand [e-mail: Colleen.Ward@vuw.ac.nz].

Abstract

International education is a thriving industry, but relatively little is known about its consequences for the social integration of international scholars in educational institutions or the wider community. This article reviews research on attitudes toward international students as a key component of intercultural relations and a significant marker of social cohesion. An organizational framework for the investigation of these attitudes is proposed with threat mediating the influences of personal and situational factors on attitudinal outcomes. Broader contextual factors are also seen to exert influence on the process of attitude development and maintenance. A model derived from this framework is then tested with student, teacher, and community samples. A “tipping point” in attitudes toward international students as a function of the proportion of international enrolments in educational institutions is also explored. Finally, the applicability of the findings for promoting social cohesion in educational institutions and the wider community is discussed.

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