Qualitative Study and International Student

For the last two weeks, we talked about higher education internationally, and I really find it interesting. I am happy that I have a chance to introduce the higher education in China, and I am also grateful that I have the opportunity to learn about both culture and education around the world.

There is one thing that really confuses me since the beginning of this semester. I am taking the qualitative research methods this semester, and we have a group project in this class. The professor asked us to identify group members by ourselves, so I just grouped with two other students in my department, as we thought it would be convenient for us to meet and work on the group project. After we submitted the names of group members to the professor, he said he wanted to meet with us. During the meeting, he said three of us should better not to be in one group because we are all international students, and it would be difficult for us to do qualitative study as we were not familiar with the U.S. culture.

One of our group member volunteered to join the other group where there were two American students, and the only student in our class who didn’t have a group was also an international student. It turned out that we still have three international students in our group, while we think there is not difference before and after we regroup, but the professor said it would be beneficial for the other student’s learning process by joining the other group. I have to admit that this really hurt our feelings and confidence in doing qualitative study now and in the future.

I think the professor is right in some way, but I just can’t accept the assumption that international students won’t do a good job in qualitative research as the native students. Do you have any ideas or thoughts on this?


2 thoughts on “Qualitative Study and International Student”

  1. I hope you are not taking this class in the School of Education (EDRE). If so, that professor should be ashamed! While I understand that being in a foreign culture can present barriers through languages and cultural understandings, I do not think it prevents you from doing qualitative research by any means. In fact, I believe that you would be sensitive to concepts that many native researchers in this country would gloss over just because they are so familiar! While I do support his idea of you collaborating, you are certainly not incapable just because you “aren’t from here.” Your professor definitely needs to get with the times. I am sorry you had to experience this. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work here at VT.

    1. Thank you for being so supportive. Unfortunately I am taking this class in the EDRE, it’s almost the end of this semester, anyway. I tried to make it the best of this class.

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