The research was carried out using an interpretivist approach.
Interpretive studies believe that social processes cannot be captured using hypothetical deductions, but instead the researcher must get inside the world of those generating it to understand it (Orlikowiski & Baroudi, 1991). This meant that qualitative methods were used to collect the data.Qualitative research is a naturalistic approach to research that involves the researcher studying and making sense of phenomena in its natural environment using methods such asinterviews and participant observation.
These methods place fewer restrictions on participants who can talk and express themselves freely.Over the last 11 years the number of international students studying abroad has more than doubled; rising from 2.1m in 2002 to approximately 4.5m as of 2013 (UNESCO,2014).
Given the intense competition for global recruitment and the economic dependence of universities on the fees of international students, scholars have deemed it worthwhile toStudy the experiences of those studying aboard. However, the majority of this research has been conducted in countries such as the US, Australia and Canada. As a secondary research objective, it also examines the effectiveness of institutional support in helping the students overcome such difficulties. The findings were collected through 12 semi-structured interviews. These interviews identified a number of difficulties which had a negative impact on the psychological well-being and academic performance of the students.The length and severity of these difficulties was influenced by a number of factors including the nationality, culture and previous educational experiences of the students.
However,thanks to the provision and usage of institutional support, these difficulties disappeared after the first term as the students developed the necessary skills to cope with life in a new academic and sociocultural environment. Therefore, it was concluded that institutional support plays a vital role in the academic and sociocultural adaption of international students. Future studies must look to expand the number of universities and students involved in the research process, so that firmer conclusions can be made on a national level.