About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5578-5587
Publication year: 2012
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain


B. Ohlinger, C.F. Machado

University of Minho (PORTUGAL)
This paper, which is based on a Master’s thesis in the field of Human Resources Management, presents the findings of a case study which aimed to examine the experiences of international students at the University of Minho in Braga, Portugal, in the different phases of socialization. It defines the related theoretical concepts, identifies the instruments used with the objective of integrating the international students and examines the problems faced by those students. The article focuses on the organizational socialization and the adjustment in an international context, namely of the international students who study at this university. There are three possibilities of study: in the field of an exchange program, being enrolled in a course conducive to an academic degree, or in a Portuguese as a Foreign Language Course. The revision of the literature forms the basis of the research, citing authors such as Van Maanen and Schein (1977), Feldman (1981), Chao et al. (1994), Taormina (2004), and Pina e Cunha et al. (2007). Aspects as the content, phases, tactics, instruments and practices of the organizational socialization are mentioned. The exposition of models of the culture (Hofstede, 1984) and cultural shock (Oberg, 1960) make it possible to understand the importance of the socialization and the adjustment of sojourners, particularly of expatriates and international students. During their socialization, the international students face problems, turning to co-national, bi-cultural and multi-national social networks in order to solve them. Carrying out a case study about the University of Minho, we collected information from one hundred and twenty-four surveys conducted online in Portuguese and in English, a structured interview with the responsible of the International Office, participative observations of a welcome and orientation day and secondary data. Thus, we identified the initiatives of socialization implemented by the University of Minho in the anticipatory, encounter and change and acquisition phase. We confirmed that there is a great separation between the students who are part of exchange programs and the remaining students. In relation to the latter, we concluded that there is no formal socialization and specific support. Agreeing with other studies (for example, carried out by Sherry et al., 2010) the majority of the students faces interuniversity and extra university problems at an academic and linguistic, personal and sociocultural level, having a major difficulty in integrating with the local students. Based on the results of this research, we recommend a major concern with this population by introducing specific support and the definition of an internationalization strategy, with the objective of attracting students beyond exchange programs. An extension of the study would lead us to the identification of best practices which could be transferred to the socialization and adjustment of international organization members not only in universities but also in other organizations such as companies.
author = {Ohlinger, B. and Machado, C.F.},
series = {6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2012 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-5563-5},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {5-7 March, 2012},
year = {2012},
pages = {5578-5587}}
AU - B. Ohlinger AU - C.F. Machado
SN - 978-84-615-5563-5/2340-1079
PY - 2012
Y1 - 5-7 March, 2012
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2012 Proceedings
SP - 5578
EP - 5587
ER -
B. Ohlinger, C.F. Machado (2012) SOCIALIZATION OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: A CASE STUDY, INTED2012 Proceedings, pp. 5578-5587.