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What health preparations do international students make for their academic sojourn?

Gale, T., Obasaju, T. and Brown, L., 2021. What health preparations do international students make for their academic sojourn? Tourism Geographies. (In Press)

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DOI: 10.1080/14616688.2021.1964587

Abstract

The exponential growth in international student mobility since the 1990s brings issues of travel health preparedness in overseas students and the impact of studying in a foreign country on their health to the fore. The direction of travel for much ‘education first’ educational tourism is from less- to more-economically developed countries, yet the existing literature tends to focus on the health-related expectations, precautions and behaviours of students travelling in the other direction. We explore the health implications of the international sojourn for students in UK higher education from various developing countries, and attendant risks such as the translocation of disease (a concern elevated by the COVID-19 pandemic). Drawing on, fusing and extending ideas from research on education and health mobilities, we examine students’ experiences beyond the much-discussed first few weeks after arrival which is typically understood in terms of culture shock. Using narrative research and interviews with a purposive sample of students from ten countries/territories to establish their travel health preparations and perceptions, we reveal that they made extensive use of non-medical sources of advice including family and friends, the internet and study abroad agents. When they did become ill it was an isolating, distressing and frustrating experience due to delays in obtaining a doctor’s appointment and the lack of social support away from home. Of some concern, these students perceived a low risk to traveling to and studying in the UK, and had given little thought to the possibility of inadvertently transmitting disease across borders. These findings will inform our understanding of international students’ health, and have the potential to shape related policy and practice in origin and destination countries alike.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1461-6688
Uncontrolled Keywords:Educational tourism; internationally mobile students; mobilities; travel health; disease; illness
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:35964
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:03 Sep 2021 15:19
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 15:19

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