International Education as a Conduit for Engagement between Countries: The Case of Saudi Students in New Zealand

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dc.contributor.advisor Haworth, N en
dc.contributor.advisor Whittaker, H en Egan, Bridget en 2013-04-11T03:34:26Z en 2013 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract This research aims to generate an understanding of friendship building between people from two very different cultures, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand. In particular, it focuses on the experiences of Saudi students currently studying in New Zealand on scholarships provided by the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education. The main goal of the scholarship programme is to up-skill Saudi youth; however, this goal is accompanied by an expectation that Saudi students will also gain “soft” skills through international experience and intercultural friendships. The latter is also framed in terms of “person-to-person diplomacy”, designed to improve relations between Saudi Arabia and the host country. Yet improved relations and associated benefits are not automatic, but an outcome of positive rather than negative engagement in the host country. As such, this research seeks to generate insights into the range of factors which impact upon positive friendship building by Saudi students in New Zealand, amid a dearth of empirical studies on intercultural studies involving engagement of Saudi nationals abroad. This research uses a mixed methods approach informed by contact theory, which includes a survey questionnaire and interviews with Saudi students, interviews with appropriate Saudi and New Zealand officials working in their respective Ministries, informal discussions with New Zealand homestays, and observation of student behaviour. The main contributions of this research are as follows: 1) This research examines the application of contact theory in the case of Saudi students in New Zealand, and reconsiders its theoretical starting point. 2) This study finds no foundation in the assertion that Saudi students generally hold prejudicial feelings towards their hosts due to differences in culture or religion. In consideration of the factors which impact on student experience, this study questions the notion of initial prejudice, instead suggesting people from this very different culture suspend judgement in order to gain a full experience of their host country. 3) A model for understanding the differing behaviour of people from a seemingly homogenous culture is developed, in order to describe three different types of behaviour, “conservative”, “middle” and “open”. 4) A model for understanding the relationship between a range of variables which impact upon a Saudi student’s experience of friendship building in New Zealand is provided. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title International Education as a Conduit for Engagement between Countries: The Case of Saudi Students in New Zealand en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The Author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 375756 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2013-04-11 en

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