Integrating Home and International Students in HE: Academic and Social Effects of Pair Work PBL Assignments Online
Journal article, 2023

Integration is vital to student well-being in higher education but integrating new students from different countries can be challenging. To ascertain students’ integration into their new environment, this mixed method study combined the data collected from weekly diary entries of home and international students at the start of one engineering program, with follow-up interviews. These students studied primarily online due to the pandemic. The diary entries focused on their adjustment to the program from an academic, social and pair work perspective. Results show that the students reacted slightly negatively to the academic experience but very positively to their pair work. It seems that the teacher-formed pair work helped to bridge the academic and social gap and not only alleviate some of the stress caused by assignments, but in some cases, provided new social contacts. The article concludes that structural factors within the course can facilitate interaction and thus support integration.

academic integration

engineering education

home and international students

social integration

online education

pair work


Becky Bergman

Chalmers, Communication and Learning in Science, Language and Communication

Raffaella Negretti

Chalmers, Communication and Learning in Science, Language and Communication

Helen Spencer-Oatey

The University of Warwick

Christian Stöhr

Chalmers, Communication and Learning in Science, Engineering Education Research

Journal of Studies in International Education

1028-3153 (ISSN)

Vol. In Press

Subject Categories


Learning and teaching

Pedagogical work



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