Through their perspectives, various scholarshave explored the academic and social challenges foreigner students face in theexperience of learning. Understanding the positive impacts and the challengesof international nursing students can lead to a greater awareness of the obstaclesand benefits that come from their scholarship experience. The current study aimedto recognize perspectives of Nigerian students about the influences ofcultural variation on their learning process, and rating the students’satisfaction with the nursing scholarship experience.
Both descriptive exploratory and grounded theory researchdesigns were utilized to conduct the quantitative and qualitative partsof this study respectively. The study was conducted in the Facultyof Nursing, Mansoura University, Egypt. Apurposive sample of all (n=51) first year Nigerian students who registeredat the academic year 2013-2014 2nd semester and studying the courseof research methodology-credit hours system were requested to participate in thisdescriptive cross-sectional study. Tools of data collection wereincluded; self-administered, and semi-structured interviewquestionnaire, in addition to four points of Likert scale.
The studyresults revealed that communication barrier, combined use of locallanguage, and different language barrier were cited by around three quarters ofNigerian students as cultural variation related obstacles that influencedteaching process as well as students’ learning. However, less than half of Nigerianstudents considered know about different cultural background as a motive intheir process of learning. Conclusion: This study concluded that,cultural variation has both positive and negative influences on Nigerian nursingstudents’ learning experience. It is recommended that, recognitionof Nigerian nursing students’ perspectives are needed to support their scholarshiplearning experience in a new environment of different culture. Key terms: Cultural Variation, InternationalStudents, Nursing, Scholarship experience, Learning process. INTRODUCTIONCulture is a learned,patterned behavioral response acquired over time that includes implicit versusexplicit beliefs, attitudes, values, customs, norms, taboos, arts, and lifeways accepted by a community of individuals. Culture is primarily learned andtransmitted in the family and other social organizations, shared by themajority of the group, includes an individualized worldview, guides decisionmaking, and facilitates self-worth and self-esteem (Armenakis & Kiefer,2007; Lillis & Tian, 2010;Lu & Fan, 2015). Cultural sensitivity isexperienced when neutral language–both verbal and nonverbal–is used in a waythat reflects sensitivity and appreciation for the diversity of another.
It isconveyed when words, phrases, categorizations, etc. are intentionally avoided,especially when referring to any individual who may interpret them as impoliteor offensive. Cultural sensitivity is expressed through behaviors that areconsidered polite and respectful by the other. Such behaviors may be expressedin the choice of words, use of distance, negotiating with established culturalnorms of others, etc. (Armenakis & Kiefer, 2007; American Association ofCollege of Nursing, 2008; American Association of Colleges of Nursing,2011). Multicultural Educationis education that allows all students to reach their potential as learners. Itrespects diversity while teaching all students to become effective andparticipating members in the process of learning.
It respects individualitywhile promoting respect for others. It emphasizes the contributions of thevarious groups (e.g., ethnic, gender, religious, sexual orientation, etc.
) thatmake up the population of this country. It focuses on how to learn rather thanon learning specific information. It acknowledges that different students havedifferent learning styles.
It emphasizes understanding in terms of differentperspectives rather than learning just the facts. It takes into considerationthe learner and his or her relationship to the material. It recognizes that themeasure of one’s learning is not only the new information or understandingsthat one has gained but also includes the extent to which the learner haschanged relative to the material. It helps the students make sense out of theireveryday life. It facilitates communication between students, their teachersand the rest of society. It encourages students to learn how to resolveconflicts in non-violent ways and finally, it promotes world peace and harmony.
Developing a multicultural classroom means more than adopting a multiculturalcurriculum (Center for Mental Health in Schools at UCLA, 2008; Jenny, 2012). Many universitiesutilize activities such as study abroad programs that send students to anothercountry to participate in academic and cultural learning. Study abroad programsare highly impactful in meeting the goals associated with international educationregarding internalizing foreign concepts and experiencing foreign nations andcultures (Aggarwal & Goodell, 2015). In 2013, 4.3 million studentswere studying outside their home country (Organisation for EconomicCo-operation and Development OECD, 2013). Bordia, Bordia, and Restubog(2015) note “despite their significant presence in abroad schools, theneeds and learning experiences of international students have not beenadequately met unless learning styles and preferences of students areconsidered or have been given a great deal while planning for the educationalprocess of foreigner students”. Learning styles arecollectively defined as “the preferences students have for thinking, relatingto others, and particular types of classroom environments and experiences” (Grasha,1990),as well as the ways in which an individual characteristically acquires,retains, and retrieves information (Claxton & Murrell, 1987).
Previous studies indicated the beneficial effect of matching teaching andlearning styles on students learning. A meta-analysis conducted by Lovelace(2005) reported that instruction matched with individual’s learning stylesimproved academic achievement and enhanced attitudes towards learning. Inaddition, Stevenson and Dunn (2001) suggested that student may learnmore rapidly and effectively if preferred learning style was used. Therefore,it is imperative for educators to incorporate different learning styles intheir teaching plan to accommodate students’ preferences and ultimately result ina better outcome (Cakiroglu, 2014).
Many scholars argue that deliveringknowledge in the students’ preferred learning styles can increase themotivation to learn (Nuzhat, Salem, Quadri, & Al-Hamdan, 2011).Furthermore, Felder and Silverman (1988) claimed that learners whoprefer a specific learning style could have difficulties if teaching stylesthat differ from their preferred ones. The influence ofculture on beliefs about education, the value of education, and participationstyles cannot be underestimated (Rosenberg, Westling & McLeskey 2008).When cultural factors of one group or one individual interface with anotherculture it is quite likely that some form of dissonance will occur. Suchdissonance or discord offers the potential for misunderstanding and in thelearning environment it frequently leads to less-than-successful learningexperiences for those who are cultural outsiders and not uncommonly, tofrustration, loss of motivation, and reduction in self-esteem and individualworth.
It is extremely relevant then that educators have a clear understandingof the role cultural factors play in the learning process so that they mayutilize that knowledge to create a culturally responsive learning environmentthat supports the success and achievement of all students (Perso, 2012).This occurs when educators recognize those strengths that students bring toschool and make use of them in order to facilitate success for all learners. Justification of the problem Attracting moreinternational students with their greater tuition fees is encouraged by thefaculties and universities of the developing countries. One of the issues thatrelates to international students’ perceptions about the quality of highereducation is with regards to the difficulties and problems they face whilestudying in colleges outside their home countries. Therefore, this study seeksto highlight the obstacles faced by Nigerian nursing students, as well as thebenefits and what motivate their learning in a variant culture.
Moreover, it isimportant to gain and understand their insights that reflect whether theseindividuals recommended the host institution to other students when they returnto their home country through exploring the Nigerian students’ satisfactionwith the overall scholarship experience. This paper discusses this in greaterdetail. AIMThe aimsof this study were to: – Get the perspectives of Nigerian students aboutthe influences of cultural variation on their learning process. – Explorethe Nigerian students’ satisfaction with their nursing scholarship experiencein Mansoura University, Egypt.
Research questions1- What are the perspectives of Nigerian nursing studentsabout the influences of cultural variation on their learning process?2- How do Nigerianstudents put cultural variation related obstacles that affect the learningprocess into priority? 3- What are the cultural influences that affect Nigerianstudents’ satisfaction with overall nursing scholarship experience? SUBJECTS AND METHOD SUBJECTSResearchdesign A combinationof descriptive exploratory research design was utilized to conduct thequantitative part of this study, and a qualitative approach based on grounded theory wasdeveloped for this research. It was a bottom-up approach where the study wastaken from the perspective of the student rather than the researcher..Setting Thestudy was conducted at Faculty of Nursing, Mansoura University, Egypt. SampleA purposive sample;included all the Nigerian nursing students who registered at the academic year2013-2014 2nd semester and studying the course of research methodology-credithours system (n=51).Data collection tools Threetools were designed by the researchers in English language and used to collectthe required data as the following: Tool I: ASelf-administered Questionnaire Thistool included seven open ended questions which related to the influences of culturalvariation on Nigerian students’ learning, and concerned with obstaclesaffecting learning, cultural differences motivate learning, and beneficial fromcultural differences in learning. Tool II:A Semi-Structured Interview Questionnaire This tool included sevenopen ended questions which concerned with putting cultural variation relatedproblems and obstacles affecting learning, cultural differences that motivatelearning, and benefits from cultural differences in learning in absolute intopriorities.
Through this tool, Nigerian students’ responses will be recorded handwritingand also by recording with the camcorder. Tool III:Four Points of Likert Scale (satisfaction rating scale) It wascomposed of ten statements for ratings of the Nigerian students’ satisfactionwith overall scholarship experience. The respondents were required to indicatetheir agreement or disagreement with the scale items on a four-point Likertscale. If the traditional five-point scale was used, respondents had thetendency to select responses in the center of the scale. The responses for thefour-point scale were: strongly agree (4), agree (3), disagree (2), and stronglydisagree (1). METHODI- Preparatory phase1- EthicalconsiderationThe Community Health Nursing and PediatricNursing Departments Committees approved to conduct this study.
Approval was obtained from the Faculty ofNursing Research Ethics Committee. All questionnaireswere anonymous and considered confidential. All the Nigerian students were informed aboutthe study in the beginning of the course. Nigerian Students were informed thattheir participation at this study is voulantary, and their perspectives aboutthe course would have no effect on their educational assessment.2- Tool developmentAfter reviewing the past and current literatures,the study tools were developed. The content validity of the study tools isassessed by a jury of 5 experts in the field of education, pediatric nursingand community health nursing for its clarity, and relevance. According to jurysuggestions, minor modification was done in the sequence of one tool items.
Thedeveloped tools were statistically tested for its reliability, and yield aCronbach’s alpha of 0.94. II- Exploratory phasePilot studyIt was conducted on 10% of total subjec’s size toestimate time required to fulfill the tools and its applicability. Based on thefindings of the pilot study, some modifications were made on the used Englishlanguage terms. Students who participated in the pilot study were excluded fromthe study subjects.
Data collection technique A cross-sectional study was conducted with 51first year Nigerian undergraduate nursing students undergoing a range ofcourses at Faculty of Nursing belongs to one of the Egyptian Universities to explorestudents’ perspectives about the difficulties and benefits related to studyingin a variant culture and may affect their learning and overall scholarshipexperience.The quantitative data were collected using thefirst tool’s sheet which was distributed on theNigerian students at the end of the last lecture of research methodologycourse by credit hours system. The researchers instructed the students tofulfill the sheet anonymously. The researchers wait for 30-45 minutes; therequired time to fulfillment the tool, then collected the sheets after studentshad been finished. Based on Nigerian students’ interviews; the second tool wasused to collect qualitative data immediately after finishing the course. Theresearchers conducted semi-structured interview for groups of volunteers’ Nigerian students; each group contained3-5 students.
The lengths of interviews were approximately one hour each,through which one of the researchers asked the questions, and the other wrotethe response of students, simultaneously the interview recorded by using camcorderto ensure the conformity of responses (what was said by the students and whatwas writen by the researcher during an interview), complete missed words orstatements; if dropped during handwriting. Shortly beforegraduation, the third tool was used and exploredinternational students’ satisfaction with overall scholarship experience andhow they influenced whether theseindividuals recommended the host institution to others when they return totheir home country. The researchers distributed the sheets and instructed thestudents to anonymously rate each statement that described their openion/experiencethrough put “a true like sign” inside the box of four-point Likertscale items by strongly disagree, disagree, agree, and strongly disagree. Theresearchers wait for 15-20 minutes until students finished and collect thescale sheets. III- Statistical AnalysisThe collected data were revised, coded,tabulated, and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences(SPSS, version 21). Descriptive statistics including frequency and percentagewere calculated to characterize the study findings.
ResultsCharacteristics of Nigerian students revealthat, more than half (56.9%, & 52.9%) of them are males, and age from25-<30 respectively, with the mean of 25.92 ± 2.55 years old, and all ofthem are Muslims.
Urban residence and single status of Nigerian studentsrepresents more than three quarters (76.5%), and most (96.1%(respectively (Table1). The majority (86.3%) and more than threequarters (78.4%) of Nigerian students state that there are cultural differencesaffecting the teaching process for foreigner students, and their learningrespectively. All of the Nigerian students mention that, there are obstaclesaffecting foreigner students’ learning.
Moreover, most (94.1%), and themajority (88.2%) of Nigerian students view cultural differences motivate, andbeneficent for foreigner students’ learning respectively (Table 2). Table (3) illustrates that the highestpercentages 77.
3%, 70% and 74.5% of Nigerian students report that differentlanguage/communication barrier, combined use of local language, and differentlanguage barrier are the priority among problems affecting teaching process,learning, and obstacles for foreigner students respectively. Consideringlearning motives and benefits for foreigner students’ priority reflections,they are conducive learning environment by 47.9%, give a chance to know aboutdifferent cultural background, and improve coping ability by 31.1 % of thestudy sample.
Table (4) shows that more than two thirds(69.2%), and less than half (46.2%) of Nigerian students state that differentlanguage, and poor interaction with native Arabic colleagues were problems andobstacles affecting foreigner students’ learning respectively. Furthermore,half (50.0%) and the vast majority (92.3%) of Nigerian students reveal thatexposure to different new teaching methods, and deal with a very supportive staffare cultural differences motivate, and beneficent for foreigner students’learning respectively.
Table (5) reveals that agree occupied thehighest percentages in ratings of the Nigerian students’ satisfaction withscholarship learning experience which range from 19.6% to 56.9% except theitems of “I would rather describe the scholarship experience ascompensatory”, “As a foreigner student, the provided scholarshipprograms met my learning expectations”, “I would recommend thisscholarship to other younger students when return back to homeland”, and “I would like to take another chanceof scholarship for postgraduate degree here” strongly agree are thehighest percentage 43.1%, 39.2%, 35.3%, and 60.8%.
On the opposite side,disagree 43.1% is the highest percentage for the item of “I would describethe scholarship experience as being highly interesting than local studying inour home country” with the Median of 17.