Research is a mess of the mind and it is continuous, ever-changing and constant. There will always be something to research. This project has painted the better process of researching into my knowledge and I have came across many valuable resources that make a better research project. I have now started to consider the ethics of my research, the honesty of my data and the timeliness of my presentation. I’ve learnt about the best way to keep participants anonymous and completely involved in their understanding of my study.
Before starting my project, it was very hard to choose a topic until I sat back and just looked at my surroundings – an International student community, not one that was labelled nor widely known but a community nonetheless. Thus I began wondering about them, how they are in terms of individual experiences and I started creating basic conversation to hear them out. Then I wondered about their roles in the student body and the sharpening of my project lead to questioning the same role, but in University events. Prior to small conversation, I had the belief that they were socially outcast due to their cultures and my research finding backed that up as: 1) they could speak English fluently but do not recognise the Australian accent, 2) foreigners put themselves forward and make risks to learn more about the culture here and 3) they’re all in agreement with the creation of an event where the International and domestic students may join together to talk and share their experiences, to understand one another better.
I came across a lot of errors of data and errors of judgement but I’m proud of the way I dared to plant so many seeds, ready to pluck the dead ones out and focus on the sprouting flower – the focus on cultural differences that do indeed exist in University events. I now know that despite beginning with a timetable plan and a Gantt chart, life will get in the way but that should not stop your research and your passion in answering the ‘Why?’s that you would have created. I feel that my research was sufficiently done in the time frame given and criteria of BCM students.
My choice on surveying students and then picking out interviewees from there was very helpful as it allowed me to know how much broader and deeper I needed to delve in the interviews with the candidates. It also allowed me to build a very trusting and honest relationship with some people in the community, to help understand what lays in their wishes and their personal opinions that landed upon deaf ears. These interviews not only successfully informed my research and told a story, but it also opened my eyes to the different cultures’ part in the community – it made me a better person, ready to be more friendly to everyone in the society and consider their difficulties.
This study was overall quite challenging and if I was to do research on a similar topic, there are many aspects I see myself improving on. Such as being more determined to contact more participants according to the criteria and finding more ways of analysing qualitative data. I would also focus on keeping true to the timeline that I had planned. For the best results, I believe that I’d need to be sorely focused on that research and not have other subjects or complications interrupting the process. This journey started very broad until I found something deep to delve in – but I believe my research on International students will continue, as I look upon other areas of difficulties for International students. I also am utterly stern in my belief that research regarding the International community is not complete.