Examining the Challenges Faced by International Women with Preschool Children Studying for a Postgraduate Built Environment Degree in the UK





Alumnae, built environment, international students, postgraduate, preschool children, sense of belonging, women


This paper examines the academic experiences of five mature, mid-career female international student-parents with preschool children studying on a one-year Built Environment master’s degree in the United Kingdom. The group was selected to form a purposive small-scale study because they had preschool children with them while studying. Tinto’s “sense of belonging” was used as a theoretical framework and the data revealed the stress that this group experienced when returning to full-time study while caring for a preschool child or children. Balancing the academic demands of a one-year full-time degree with childcare was compounded by a lack of appropriate support from the university. Although universities in general were viewed as offering a welcoming environment, this group of students often felt disappointed with their experience. Strategies for addressing identified barriers are proposed that contribute to widening existing inclusive university policies that address the specific needs of this group of female students. 

Author Biographies

Maureen D. Rhoden, University of Greenwich, UK

Maureen Rhoden, (EdD, PGCE, SEDA, MA), is an independent Higher Education (international students) and Management specialist and Research Consultant. She was formally a Senior Lecturer/Researcher at the University of Greenwich and has extensive experience of teaching management related subjects to undergraduates and postgraduates. She is an experienced supervisor and mentor of dissertations within the fields of management and psychology.


Francia Kinchington, Independent Consultant, UK

Francia Kinchington (MA Ed. Psych. SFHEA, MBPs), is an analyst, consultant, and editor with expertise in leadership development and change both internationally and in the UK. She was formally a Principal Lecturer at the University of Greenwich and is an experienced doctoral supervisor and examiner with 25 doctoral completions in education, psychology, and biographical information health. She has extensive European and international experience including teaching Masters’ degrees in Sweden and the Netherlands; British Council school leadership consultancies (Middle East and Europe), and through EU and TEMPUS funded Projects in Europe and the Ukraine.


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How to Cite

Rhoden, M. D., & Kinchington, F. (2021). Examining the Challenges Faced by International Women with Preschool Children Studying for a Postgraduate Built Environment Degree in the UK. Journal of International Students, 11(4). https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v11i4.2398



Research Articles