There is an absence of research exploring the experiences of religious students on the UK higher education campus, despite the fact that international students, in particular, are under constant monitoring and surveillance. This is a significant omission since, without such insights, policy and practice designed help these students to develop a sense of belonging, and fitting in may be based on an inadequate understanding of their experiences. In order to help fill this gap in the literature, this chapter reports on research with international PhD students using a phenomenological approach to guide the collection of data. The findings are explored through Merleau-Ponty’s lifeworld dimensions, as developed by Peter Ashworth, to help answer the question of how ‘being student’ is ‘experienced’. The research illuminates how those experiencing a lack of belongingness may turn away from the HE institution to find a sense of belonging elsewhere, as well as the ways in which religious organisations are of importance to those struggling to fit in. The research has implications for the retention of doctoral, as well as other religious students in both the UK and globally.
Stevenson, J. (2017). Exploring the lifeworld of international doctoral students: The place of religion and religious organisations. In Cultural Studies and Transdisciplinarity in Education (Vol. 6, pp. 61–74). Springer Nature. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-10-2601-0_4