New Zealand universities backs

Expectation vs. Reality: A study on International Student’s satisfaction and their settlement experiences at NMIT, Nelson, New Zealand”.




New Zealand universities backs third place in the world. According to the reports published by the Education New Zealand on August 2017, International enrolments a decline by 8286 resulting in total enrolments of 106,021 enrolments. Even if the total enrolment falls, there was a seven percent growth in University sector “to 28,821 students, with an estimated economic value of $1.28 billion, up nine per cent or $110 million, on 2016. Most of this was seen on Post Graduate study” [ CITATION Edu18 \l 1033 ]

Export Education constitutes the New Zealand’s “4th largest export earner generating $4.28b to New Zealand’s economy, of which universities contribute over $1 billion each year”. International students were informed that New Zealand provides advanced international through “internationalization of the curriculum, the student experience, and collaboration and cooperation in research and teaching [ CITATION Uni18 \l 1033 ]. But is this achieved in real? Are the students satisfied with their expectations here? My research aim to have a look into this.

The International students come to New Zealand with a wide range of expectations that can be related to their curriculum, their experiences in learning and the support rendered by the Institution and Teachers. In the report of Education New Zealand it clearly mentions that China and New Zealand backs 50 percent of the total enrolments. It clearly indicates that the students from these countries should not be neglected by any means. The students from India and China, or any other International students which ever country they belongs to, will be culturally different from where they belong to now. They indeed need support for their transition time, as there can be wide range of challenges in their path. This will have a very vital impact on their learning outcome and settlement experiences.

There are researches that look into the Experiences of International Students in New Zealand and in the World. But researches were less during the time period of transition (one to three months) especially with their settlement experiences. Hence I have chosen this study titled “Expectation vs. Reality: A study on International Student’s satisfaction and their settlement experiences at NMIT, Nelson, New Zealand”. I have chosen this topic, to know more how other students faced when they come here. Do they face the same issues? Through this research, I aim to identify the extent of satisfaction among International Students at NMIT, their most predominant issues, and also the settlement experience of them. The result of this research can be helpful for the NMIT authorities, to provide a better aspect of pastoral care [ CITATION Kuk16 \l 1033 ]

Research Aims and Objectives

Research Title:

International Students Satisfaction and their settlement experiences at NMIT.

Research Question:

Expectation vs. Reality: A study on International Student’s satisfaction and their settlement experiences at NMIT, Nelson, New Zealand”.

Research Sub questions

The above research question is categorized into sub questions to answer the research question. Following are the sub questions for my research.

How effective is NMIT International support to International Students?

The answer for this question will be derived from the results of the Survey Questionnaire. Questions regarding various support services available at NMIT, How frequent students uses it, their satisfaction in using it will be the mission critical element involved. Article pertaining to the topic will be analyzed to make the questionnaire and results will be analyzed and compared with the review.

Does the learning and settlement needs met for international students at NMIT?

This can also be derived from the results of the Survey, where questions can be asked about their needs regarding class room experience, learning support available,

  • What are the main issues faced by international students at NMIT?

Research aims and Objectives

My research aims to look into the study satisfaction and settlement experiences among international students at NMIT. Through my study, I aim to get knowledge about the various student issues. Disseminating the research findings of my study could provide NMIT authorities in evaluating student’s issues and can rectify it.

This study identifies the following objectives.

To identify the level of satisfaction among international students at NMIT.

This objective will be answered through the survey done at International students at NMIT. Data bases such as Pro Quest, Science Direct, and Google Scholar etc will be looked to gain some insight about what are the questions asked in the survey. There will be questions in the survey about the satisfaction of various support services, learning satisfaction, pastoral care etc. This is very critical to answer this research objective. Similar articles regarding International Students satisfaction will be analyzed to know, compare and contrast my research findings to the previous similar researches.

To measure the extent to which support services have an impact on student adjustment,

To examine the frequency of support services utilized by international students.

These two objectives can be answered through literature review. Getting article relevant to the Theme of support services and its impact on students seems to be critical in answering this objective. Including questions in surveys about the knowledge of support services available at NMIT, hoe frequent students are using it. Knowing this also is very important.

To evaluate the gaps in expectation and reality in international education in New Zealand.

Analyzing the review based on this theme and by including questions in the survey can answer this objective. Questions will include asking about student’s expectation before coming to New Zealand and how far it has become real.

To investigate the issues that concerns international students.

Literature review that will mainly look into article that concerns with International students. Questions will also be included in the survey to know about the various issues faced by international students in NMIT by giving them to rank based on the priorities.

Literature Review

Through my literature review, I aim to understand the needs of international students, their culture and also the specific interventions to be taken to improve the student outcomes. Thematic reviews will be used for my research. Relevant searches will be done in data bases like Pro Quests, Google Scholar, and Internet to find relevant journal articles to my topic. I am still continuing the search to find relevant articles. The following themes are formulated for my research.

  • Impact of culture on student adjustment.

  • International student’s learning and settlement experiences.

  • International Student Issues

  • Expectations and gaps in perception of International Education”.

Impact of culture on student adjustment

A cross-sectional survey was conducted among BDS students at Australia in 2007. A self completed questionnaire was used to assess the incidents that have an impact on student learning. It was seen that irrespective of the nationality, domestic and international students faced similar learning issues. This has called for a language support (Burgess, 2009.)A study that focused on the difficult areas that a new international student can face. This included areas inside the University such as “expenses, stress, different learning styles, isolation) and activities outside the university such as “language, racism, adjusting to cultural adjustment, home sickness, comprehension skills etc. The University authorities should constantly provide support that could facilitate student adjustment (Robertson et al, 2000). Considering the issues of student who faces cultural differences is also very important. Then only it is possible to understand what they feel and so that appropriate interventions can be taken. (Friedlander et al, 2007).

A study that examined the negative attitude of American students towards International students. The study findings revealed that the negative attitude was mainly because if their belief that “International students are a threat to their economic, education, physical well-being, beliefs, values, and their social status”. This is mainly because of the lack of inter cultural communication (Wu, 2015). Another study conducted at Massey University among 146 international students and domestic students emphasized the importance of understanding cultural diversity to support International students (Prebble, 2005).

International Students learning and settlement Experiences

Among the issues faced by the international students, language is considered to eb the most important challenge faced by international students. The issues with langauge provide difficulties in achiveing the learning objectives (Galloway and Jenkins, 2005). A study that investigated the international students in Malaysia. 202 participants were surveyed. Prices for the university services and communication between the teacher and the student were the most important factors that contributes to international student satisfaction [ CITATION Luj13 \l 1033 ]

International Student Issues

There have been many studies that have focused on the issues faced by international students. Such as study that has conducted in US revealed language difficulties, difficulties adjusting to the academic culture, misunderstanding, and complications in communication with faculty and peers; stress, anxiety, feeling of isolation, social experiences, culture shock, financial hardships, lack of appropriate accommodation, isolation and loneliness, and any adaption in their daily life” (Zhneg, 2010). A study that examined the international student’s experiences related in academic and socio cultural settings. Interviews among ten students from “China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico” revealed that international students deal with “academic challenges, social isolation, and cultural adjustment. Academic challenges mainly involved communication with tutors and classmates. To cope up with this, students were using support services available at campus. The study concluded that a better understanding of the student issues could help the staffs to understand their issues and will be able for students to adapt academically and socially. A study conducted among 900 international students revealed that 41% of international students experienced stress that have probably originated from “homesickness, cultural shock, or perceived discrimination” (Russell et al, 2010).

International students revealed a number of issues “related to accommodation, transportation, social interaction, and academic life” in a study conducted among thirty international students at USA (Kisang, 2010). Issues related to “academic environment, language, cultural environment etc” here the major issues faced by international students in a study conducted at New Zealand (Vu,2013).

Expectations and gaps in International student satisfaction

This theme mainly looks into the extent where the international student’s expectations are fulfilled. It will also see how far the international students use support services. A study that is conducted in Texas aimed to identify why students used Counseling services. The data was collected for six years and it was found that students mainly seek to get support from parents. They were not suing the support services available at the University. This study reveals that even if counseling services are available at the University, Students are not aware of it. This is indeed a gap to be filled (Yi, 2003.) This study reveals that international students expect that institution will try their best to enhance the student retention by providing good support services (Leach , 2014). If good pastoral services are delivered tp international stduents, that could facilitae their academic performance.

Management Theory

Intercultural Management Theory

Students from backgrounds that are culturally different from the dominant culture of the university potentially face additional challenges in adjusting to the academic environment. The theory of Intercultural Management, explains the importance of understanding the cultural difference to understand and manage issues with communication. Through this theory, the customs and differences of International students can be known and can develop strategies to effectively deal with it that can fosters student satisfaction

Maslows Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslows Hierarchy of Needs implies the importance of motivation to people. He proposed this theory in 1943, in his paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”. In this theory, he emphasizes the importance of satisfying a need whether to reach a goal or not. For the international students to reach their goal of a better learning satisfaction and settlement experience, it is important that their needs are met. I can use this management theory [ CITATION Mas18 \l 1033 ]

Developmental model of Intercultural Sensitivity by Milton.J.Bennet

Dr. Milton.J. Bennet proposed this model that explains that various reactions to cultural differences. (Cushner, McClelland, & Safford, 2012, p. 155). According to him DMIS consists of six stages that includes “denial, defense, minimization, acceptance, adaptation, and integration that is reflected through attitudes and behaviors” (Cushner, McClelland, & Safford, 2012 (Bennett, 2011).

Proposed Research Methodology

Research Philosophy

Research philosophy defines how the knowledge is developed for the research. Research philosophy describes the methods and strategy that can be used for the research. The research philosophy I will use is Interpretivism. My research is Interpretivism as it has satisfies the following criteria. The research question is developed in a careful manner and the study will consider the research question very carefully and will be carried out pertaining to the inquiry strategies. The study will entirely be based on the survey responses by the participants. Through Interpretive research, i aim to analyse international students responses to the questions asked and drawing out meanings and conclusion from their answers. [ CITATION Und18 \l 1033 ]

Inquiry Strategy

Induction strategy is used in my research where the theory is build with understanding. It happens with the events taking place and data are collected and theory is developed from it [ CITATION Und18 \l 1033 ]. The reason why this approach is chosen because the researcher tends to develop understanding and make conclusions though out the project (Veal, 2005, p. 25).

Research Design

Descriptive research design is used for my research.

Research Method

In my research, I use both primary and secondary method of data collection. Primary method includes a survey where as secondary method includes literature review and secondary data.

Primary Research

Research instrument for my research is Survey. Structured Questionnaire will be developed by using Survey Monkey. Using this will save time than going for a paper administration. The survey link will be public and the international students will be send link to the survey. The eligibility criteria of the participants will be detailed in the survey along with Informed consent form. The participants can start the survey if they click yes to participate in the survey, the survey starts. The survey link will be open for two to three weeks depending up on the frequency of responses back. I aim to collect 50 responses. The collected responses will be analyzed using survey monkey. Through survey, I aim to answer the research objectives 1 to 4.

Secondary Research

Literature review and secondary data statistics will be used for my research. Thematic literature review based on the four themes will be searched. Peer reviewed articles from relevant journals and data bases like Pro Quest, Google scholar will be explored to gain an in depth understanding about the topic.

Secondary data can be selected from the following.

  • Published Secondary Sources

I can select secondary data from the following published sources related to International Students satisfaction and their Experiences.

  • Academic Books

  • Journal articles

  • Published Market reports

  • Directories and Indexes

  • Government publications

  • Reports from research bodies, professional bodies and trade associations

  • Company reports

  • Chamber of Commerce reports

  • Credible newspapers and press releases.

  • Syndicate Secondary data

This involves purchasing data from organizations that conduct surveys for Organizations. In my research, I will not be depending on syndicate secondary data.

  • Computerized Secondary databases

  • Bibliographic data bases

Through bibliographic data bases, I can access relevant citations and abstracts of articles in journals, newspaper research, and technical reports and so on. New Zealand Longitudinal business data base (LBD).

  • Numeric data bases

This includes relevant statistics and Numerical information relevant to the study. In my study, I can use relevant data from Stats NZ, Euro monitor, International Student Barometer etc.[ CITATION Geo05 \l 1033 ]”.

Assumptions and Limitations

In my research, I have the following assumptions.

  • Participants will show are honest and unbiased attitude while taking part the survey.

  • Inclusion criteria are appropriate as I aim to know the settlement and satisfaction of international students during their transition time.

  • Participants have genuine interest in study participation.

  • A pilot study can makes the instrument valid.

  • Confidentiality and Anonymity can be assured through the measures I taken. (Simon, 2011)


Following are the possible limitations that could affect my study.

Methodological Limitations

Sample size

Due to the less sample size of fifty, it will be difficult to draw relationship with such a less sample for a quantitative study. This is a limitation.

Lack of reliable data

As the secondary data available mainly rely on industry reports, the extent of reliability of it cannot be measured.

Lack of previous studies in New Zealand

Very few studies have been found out during the search in New Zealand. And even most of the studies were more than ten years old. Hence article should be collected from similar countries and results should be explored.

Research Instrument

Preparing survey using survey monkey can have limitations, as I may have to use the template given by them. Because of that I may have to include or exclude questions.

Self-reported data

The questionnaire is emailed through survey monkey. The participants re doing it alone hence they can tick responses what they feel.

Researcher Limitations


If NMIT authorities are hesitant to provide the details, then that will be an issue in accessing the participants. Ethical clearance should be obtained before data collection.


Being a budding researcher and conducting research in an undergraduate field, with no relevant experience can be time consuming. Exams, vacations can have an impact as it can affect in recruiting participants. Studying three subjects and spending twenty hours per week will be a difficult task and fifteen weeks is very less for the whole project.

Cultural and of bias

Bias can happen when the researcher tends to give positive results for the research. That is another limitation (Aguinis, 2014), (Brutus, 2013).

Ethical Considerations

Through my research, I aim to ensure that I follow ethics of research not to make any harm to the participants, addressing the risks invilevd with the particpants and the research and the resaerch will be conducted fairly. The following steps will be taken to ensure ethical considerations are met.

Voluntary participation

Voluntary particpation is ensured where the particpants can only start after agreeing o atke art in the survey. The Informed consent form will exlplain the purpose of the survey, how often survey is conducted, what the participants are supposed to do and how much approximate time they require to finsih the survey. The particiapnt can with draw at any time of the survey. Confidentiality and privacy

The particpants response will be kept safe with the resaercher lap top which is password protected. Only researchwr will have the access to it.


Particiapnts name will not be asked anywhere during the data collection process. The particiapnst adta respisnes will be numebered for data analaysis.

Cultural sensitivity

No cultural sensitive question will be asked in the study.

Research and Management Budget


Research Activities

Due date


3/09/2018- 10/09/2018

Proposal Submission

Submission of Research Ethics application and Informed consent draft

Attend classes

Preparing Survey Questionnaire

Preparing Progress report

Submission of Progress report 3




04.09.2018- 09.09.2018










Approval of Ethical Application

Attending classes

Receiving feedback of PR 3

Correction based on feedback of Previous PR

Emailing Informed Consent

Preparing Progress report

Submission of PR 4


11.09.2018- 21.09.2018


11.09.2018- 17.09.2018


18.09.2018- 23.09.2018









Data collection through survey Monkey

Waiting for responses

Coding of the data as received

Attend classes


25.09.2018- 07.10.2018








Attend classes

Meeting with supervisor

Data Analysis

Preparation for oral presentation

Oral Presentation



16.10.2018- 21.10.2018

18.10.2018- 21.10.2018








Working on Research Report

Meeting with supervisor

Reflection report preparation

Proof reading

Final Report Submission

Reflection report submission











Fantasy table of contents

The final project contains the following chapters.


Abstract gives a summary of the entire project. It will describe the research title, its objectives, Method used and its findings.


Introduction chapter sets the stage by giving a back ground of the study.

Literature review

This chapter starts with an introduction of the literature review, its purpose, various themes and the relevant literature, the discussion of the findings and the conclusion.


This chapter will demonstrate the research method used, designs, Data collection method.


This chapter explains the results of the survey analyzed.


This chapter links and draws out conclusions of the research findings with secondary data.


This section aims to summarize the research question answers and also explains any limitations involved in the research and any further recommendations or future research.



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