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Fluid Cultures and Identifications:
The Intercultural Communication Experiences of Saudi International Students in the UK

ALQAHTANI, MUNEER,HEZAM,M (2015) Fluid Cultures and Identifications:
The Intercultural Communication Experiences of Saudi International Students in the UK.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis is an investigation into the intercultural communication experiences of Saudi international students in the UK. It focuses on the friendship experiences that Saudi international students form with home and international students in order to engage in intercultural interactions. It further investigates how Saudi international students experience interactions with individuals from the opposite gender with whom they have limited interactions with in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the study focuses on the incidents that may motivate or demotivate Saudi international students from engaging in intercultural communication. Finally, this thesis considers the changes that the participants had introduced to their worldviews, identifications and practices as a result of their overall intercultural experiences in the UK.

The findings show that 1) the participants’ identifications of in-group and out-group members were inconsistent and the boundaries between both categories were difficult to identify. 2) In contrast to studies, which suggest that Saudi international students are homogeneous Muslims who come from a collectivistic culture, the findings show that the participants had different worldviews and identifications and cannot be categorized in a fixed category. 3) The findings also illustrate that despite the segregation between men and women in Saudi Arabia, Saudi international students do not necessarily find interaction with individuals from the opposite gender challenging, as some literature claims. 4) The experiences that demotivated the participants from engaging in intercultural communication are not necessarily negative ones, since universities religious organisations, such as the Islamic Society, which was perceived positively by the participants, may also contribute to demotivating their attendees from experiencing intercultural communication. 5) The overall intercultural experiences in the UK had influenced the participants’ worldviews, identifications and practices on various levels. Thus, some participants introduced significant changes to their worldviews and identifications, others accepted changes that do not contradict with their understandings of religion, while others resisted any changes. Overall, the study argues for moving beyond essentialist descriptions for Saudi international students that describe them as a homogeneous Muslim group, coming from a collectivistic culture in a country where men are dominant over women.

The study gives valuable insights and practical implications for UK universities and Saudi Cultural Bureaux abroad where Saudi international students form a noticeable number amongst other international students.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Nov 2015 10:09

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