International student cultural experience: a case study of the Noho Marae Weekend
This exploratory study attempts to understand the outcomes of a New Zealand university programme designed to introduce newly enrolled international students to Māori culture. Informed by current knowledge on international student population, culture shock theories, and Māori cultural knowledge, a phenomenological-case study was undertaken to understand international students’ cultural experience in the case of the International Student Noho Marae Weekend (ISNMW) organised by Auckland University of Technology. Twelve past participants of the ISNMW were interviewed using semi-structured interview approach to provide data on this topic. Thematic analysis on the data revealed seven emerging themes on the success factors of non-academic initiative in promoting cultural awareness among international students and four themes on helping international students with their social adjustments. Pertinent findings include the concept of whanau, the role of administrative staff, and the possible influence of cultural dissonance on international students’ cultural awareness and social adaptation. However, findings on the ISNMW’s influence on international students’ perceptions of New Zealand were mixed. Nevertheless, the findings seem to indicate a new contribution to the ABC Model of Culture Shock.