Algwil, Kamila (2014) Learning Experiences and Learning Expectations of Libyan Master’s Students at a UK University: Intercultural Adaptation and Identity. In: BERA Conference 2014, 23rd - 25th September 2014, London, UK. (Unpublished)

This paper examines learning experiences of Libyan students studying master’s courses in different disciplines at a UK University. The study forms a case study because Libyan students as a case represent a group of people seeking higher educational experiences, but coming from a country that is a post-conflict and at a point of development and change. The paper uses situated learning in communities of practice theory as a framework to highlight the significance of the knowledge, skills and capacities that are developed through social interaction with others within a particular community of practice. The research questions are what are the main challenges that Libyan students encounter? And to what extent do their previous experiences educationally, socially, culturally and politically affect their strategies for adaptation and development? This study is primarily a qualitative study. The methods employed are: questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, and observations. Semi-structured interviews are the main source of data because Libyan students are interviewed in the first semester, in the middle, and in the dissertation stage. The findings reveal that the initial phase is crucial because Libyan students encounter many challenges as a result of their post-conflict situation. Libyan students’ prior experiences are unique and affect their expectations and adaptation. Despite the challenges, Libyan students as a case are highly motivated and they are keen to invest their time to develop their knowledge and skills to contribute to rebuilding new Libya. The findings also indicate tutor’s pedagogy plays a significant role in assisting Libyan students’ integration with their peers, and that intercultural communication between Libyan students and their colleagues is crucial in terms of learning, identity, and synergic interaction. Gender has an impact on the relationship between Libyan students and their colleagues. Some Libyan traditional cultural values are modified during their time in the UK, but the Islamic values are not affected because they are core aspects of their identity.

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