International Student Well-Being and the Influence of Politics
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Political developments play a central role in shaping international education experiences, and the mental health of international students. This chapter systematically explores how political developments in home and host nations often influence international student experiences in ways which affect students’ well-being; while also considering the role of economic changes and technological advancements, from a psychological perspective. Specifically, Pacheco discusses how twenty-first-century geopolitics, technological advancements, and economic trends can act as manipulators of international student stress across three specific domains: transitional stress (i.e. adjustment, rejection), social stress (i.e. support networks, identity) and life stress (i.e. financial, familial, emotional distress). The dynamics of geopolitics in home and host environments are also explored, as each context may present unique challenges and barriers to the positive mental health of international students. Drawing attention to the well-established knowledge concerning international student well-being, and highlighting a lack of knowledge where the experiences of individuals sojourning from regions experiencing political conflict are concerned, Pacheco ultimately argues it is necessary to consider the impact both macro level and micro level political shifts have on international students’ mental health, as this population is dually susceptible to stress but is often overlooked. As context to this argument, this chapter also places a special emphasis on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as this region not only harbours the fast-growing outwardly mobile student population but also currently faces the greatest proportion of political unrest.
KeywordsInternational students Migration Cross-cultural psychology Well-being Geopolitics Middle East and North Africa
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