Maria's story - the narrative of a mature international student

Claire Hamshire, Kirsten Jack, Alicia Prowse, Christopher Wibberley


This study examines in-depth the experiences of a mature, international student during her first year at university in the UK, to explore the different dimensions of her learning transitions.  The aim was to gain an in-depth understanding into the factors that influenced a student's on-going development and transformation over their first year; therefore we adopted a narrative exploration / inquiry as a means of collecting data.

Maria's narrative is complex and atypical of the majority of the students in the cohort, yet it details the personal, social and academic challenges that can constitute the first year at HE; as personal history and expectations have a varying degree of influence on an individual's transition.

In line with other research, this case study shows that students integration into the academic community, combined with peer support is crucial if they are going to settle into university life. The transition to HE is an on-going process and lasts longer than the initial weeks of the formal induction offered by the university.


learning, transition, first year, narrative

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ISSN: 1759-667X