Academic integration within the context of globalization : experiences of students from the SADC region studying at Howard College (University of KwaZulu-Natal)
Migration of people has long been conceived as voluntary relocation of an individual or groups of people in pursue of better job opportunities. In the context of globalisation, the semantic of migration has been expanded to include forced displacement of people as result of armed conflict or structural violence such as poverty and inaccessibility to basic needs. The United Nations‟ General Secretary has sanctioned the new explanatory trends in the concept of migration on the report on “human rights of migrants” (2002) under the article “Conceptual and substantive development of the question of the human rights of migrants” that does not leave out students migrating to integrate into a new academic environment to pursue higher degrees in fields of interest. Besides the effects of socio-political instability and economic unsustainability, human capital development theory justifies the influx of foreign students in South African universities in general, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Howard College) in particular. The process of integration is punctuated not only with opportunities but with challenges as well. This research looks in-depth into various experiences of international students integrating into Howard College. It is designed as a case study that basically use literature review and interactive interviews as sources of data, with a sample of twenty students registered with UKZN-Howard College. It investigates various aspects of integration process, examines the challenges that are involved in the process and the strategies that students develop to avert the adversities of immersion into this new academic milieu. The findings of this study abided by the interpretive paradigm appropriate to qualitative research using social network theory and human capital development as conceptual framework for the study. This research tables views from the field that are translated into recommendations that could improve the living condition of foreign students from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on campus and prompt the adjustment of the SADC Protocol on Education and Training according to the needs that arise from SADC students‟ various experiences.