Examining the Challenges Faced by International Women with Preschool Children Studying for a Postgraduate Built Environment Degree in the UK
Keywords:Alumnae, built environment, international students, postgraduate, preschool children, sense of belonging, women
This article examines the academic experiences of five mid-career female international students who were parents of preschool children. These women were studying on a 1-year Built Environment master’s degree in the United Kingdom. We applied Tinto’s “sense of belonging” as a theoretical framework to interview women who were studying full time while caring for a preschool-age child or children. Results revealed stresses arising from balancing the academic demands of a 1-year full-time degree with childcare, 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 overall. Strategies for addressing identified barriers are proposed that contribute to widening existing university policies to address the specific needs of full-time international student parents.
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