Home Away From Home: A Case Study of Student Transitions to an International Branch Campus




Cicchetti, Kaitlin Oyler

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This study explored the transition experience of home-campus students attending an international branch campus. The studied was informed by a diverse range of literature, including the internationalization of higher education and student affairs, development of international branch campuses, students in transition, the development of student affairs in the United States and Korea, as well as theories of students in transition. The literature provides an exploration of the transition of study abroad and international students, however, the perspectives of students studying at international branch campuses from their home institution are not represented in the literature. A single-site phenomenological case study was used as a research design that informed methodological choices. In order to explore the transition experiences of eleven participants in this study, data collection consisted of an open-ended questionnaire, interviews, and observations conducted on the international branch campus. A multi-part coding process was conducted once data collection was complete, and a thematic network analysis was conducted which resulted in four overarching themes. The findings revealed that participant input variables, peer support, and a connection between the home and international branch campus greatly impacted the transition experience, including a participant’s ability to cope with the transition, as well as the institutional support participants felt they received in transition. Findings themselves had both positive and negative interpretations and considerations that institutions establishing or operating a new international branch campus could find particularly useful in their practices. Finally, this study highlights a need for researchers and scholars to add to the small body of literature on this topic by further examining various elements of the international branch campus experience of home-campus students in general, including a focus on the transition experience.



Higher education, Globalization, Institutional support, International branch campus, Internationalization, Student transitions