Intercultural Communication: Social and Academic Integration of International Doctoral Students in Sweden. A study on cultural differences experiences of Iranian PhD students at Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg
Abstract: In Sweden, international doctoral students comprised 40 percent of new doctoral students in 2012. Iranian PhD students are the second big majority of international doctoral students in Sweden (UKÄ, 2013). In this thesis the culture related experiences of Iranian doctoral students in Sweden are studied in a communicative perspective. The different cultural dimensions of Persian and Swedish culture are discussed. The social and academic integration of Iranian doctoral students and their probable obstacles are studied, as well as their manner of confrontation and coping with the adjustment process in a new environment. The culture shock period, its different stages, and its impacts on the integration of the subjects are analyzed.Both qualitative and quantitative methods are employed. As the main data of this study are the narratives and micro-experiences of doctoral students, qualitative method is the dominant method used. 11 Iranian doctoral students were interviewed in semi-structured face to face interviews. Moreover, the quantitative data were gathered through questioners which were designed and distributed among 30 Iranian doctoral students. Data are categorized according to the different cultural dimensions of Persian and Swedish culture, culture shock period, integration and adjustment requirements, and significant explanations of the interviewees. Results are presented, summarized, and then discussed in relation to theoretical terms. This study reveals that socio-cultural knowledge, and being aware of intercultural communication patterns contributes to promote the social and academic integration of international doctoral students. Recommendations for improving the adjustment and integration of international students are presented at the end.
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