Apprenticeship in new worldviews in international higher education : an international comparative study

Yusuf Ikbal OLDAC*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


International education has been associated with an immersive experience in the host country. It involves taking classes within the university premises, but it is never limited to it. The inner processes involved in how students form themselves outside the university premises often slips from scholarly attention, although their existence and importance are recognised. This paper focuses on this gap and argues that international students undergo an apprenticeship in new worldviews as part of their self-formation during international higher education. The paper builds on international-comparative fieldwork consisting of interviews with 50 recent Turkish international higher education graduates who studied in four purposefully selected destination countries, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Germany, and the UK. It proposes that international student apprenticeship in new worldviews takes place through three temporal stages: encountering the new, interacting with the new, and formation of the self. Apprenticeship in new worldviews is a cyclical process, and its temporal stages follow each other fluidly and sometimes in a nonlinear way, feeding into each other. They are mediated by reflexivity in the Archerian sense, which sometimes involves cognitive dissonance reduction.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2022
EventStudent / Graduate Agency and Self-formation: A Hong Kong Symposium -
Duration: 6 Jun 20227 Jun 2022


SymposiumStudent / Graduate Agency and Self-formation: A Hong Kong Symposium
OtherWhat is higher education?

What is the role of students in it?

The existing scholarly literature mostly posits higher education as a place for human capital creation. By contrast, this symposium will draw attention to the active role of students in higher education and emphasise their agency and formation process. Higher education is a process of reflexive self-formation by students.

Agency, defined broadly as the human will and capacity to steer the course of one’s life, is both the condition for self-formation and its outcome. Students work on themselves in higher education in terms of personal development, aspirations, and projects. Students use their agency both during their studentship and after graduation, seeking life opportunities. Therefore, fostering the conditions which maximise the potentials for agentic self-formation is an important task of higher education.

Within higher education, international higher education provides a specific domain to investigate student agency and becoming. Students immerse themselves into novel social, cultural and political contexts through international higher education. This may lead to international students going through a compressed self-formation process, as they interact with the novelties they encounter in the host society.

Against this backdrop, this symposium will bring together esteemed scholars from different parts of the world in East and West and facilitate scholarly discussions on student agency and self-formation in higher education.
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