1.1 Background of study
Globalization brought about rising number of students migrating to different countries for higher education. As international educations’ landscape continue to change, students are seeking opportunities that are not only advantageous to their academic agenda, but also to their social and professional development within a global context (Marginso; Agawal, Said, Sehoole, Sorozi and De Wit; Daglish and Chan, cited in Fleischmann, Lawley and Raciti).
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Research has shown that there is a continuous rise in the number of international student in to the Netherlands. Generally the transition of studying overseas either from a secondary school or from the work place in another country in always challenging and usually stressful. According to Pereda et al. international students are often less satisfied with their courses than other student.
Most international student i.e. full-fee paying students may have similar issues with their fellow domestic students but additionally they face some distinguishing issues like inadequate financial resource, social adjustment, loneliness and cultural shock etc, these may affect the students’ experience and hence their overall satisfaction. Therefore the need to understand international students’ perception of the service quality is vital.
For a business to achieve its financial objectives and survive, understanding what creates a great satisfying customer experience is crucial. Research has shown that high service quality contributes significantly to profitability. Understanding the students’ perception of service quality and satisfaction at the university is vital to management and policy makers in the design, implementation and evaluation of services, as the key to sustainable competitive advantage is creating memorable customer experience. Competing in a highly competitive market requires the delivery of superior service because it affects corporate image.
International students have a significant role to play on the country economy for the fact that the pay full tuition fees and they spend on the country’s home produced goods and services.
1.2 The significance of the research
This research will be a source of knowledge about issues concerning international students to the researcher who is an international student. Not only will the research be beneficial to the researcher it would benefit other individuals or groups of individuals because of the following:
This research focuses on the effect of adjustment issues on the overall services experience of the international student and student satisfaction which will add knowledge to the existing literature on higher education service quality.
The importance of students from other countries to colleges and universities cannot be undermined as they bring with them different cultures which adds to the cultural richness of the institution.
The outcome of the research will be valuable to different groups of individuals like university management team and lecturers, the students and their parents, and the country. To the university management it will provide insight about international students experience and their satisfaction which will help management in policy design and satisfying their customers the students and their parents. To the lecturers it would lead to a better understanding of the international students need and better delivery of the services hence increasing their satisfaction. Finally, the students will be better served by the university and their fellow students, their experience abroad will be enhanced.
1.3 Purpose Statement
This study aims at evaluating the service quality of the Netherlands University. The overall objective is assessing international student’s perception of the service quality provided and adjustment issues, and its relative impact on students’ satisfaction and potential loyalty.
–Examine the dimensions of service quality and the determining factors of international student satisfaction at the university
–Analysing the effect of interaction of service quality and adjustment issue on international student satisfaction and potential student loyalty
–gain an insight in international student perception of service quality in the Netherlands University
– To provide a set of conclusions and recommendations to enhance the level of quality of service provided by universities.
1.4 Problem Statement
As the international education continues to grow in size and international full-fee paying students expect to be treat as customers, they have several adjustment issues which affects their overall experience and hence satisfaction.
“How does the adjustment issues of international students affect the overall service experience and what are the effects of this experience on their satisfaction?”
This research is conducted mainly to find answers to the question above.
1.5 The conceptual framework
This research will be guide by the SERVQUAL survey developed by Parasurama et al. An adapted SERVQUAL model with some modification made to provide contextual relevance, will be used in this study as it will help the researcher measure the perceived service quality across the five SERVQUAL dimensions. The SERVQUAL is an instrument for assessing customer perception of service quality in service and retailing organization (Parasuraman et al, 1988)
Based on extant literature adjustment issues affect affects international students experience at universities. These adjustment issues are Academic, socio-cultural and psychological factors. The main key to success in studying abroad is the degree to which the student adjusts to the above mentioned factors.
Figure 1.1 Conceptual framework
The conceptual model above illustrates the study of international students overall service experience and their relative satisfaction with the Stenden university in the Netherlands. The study with the aim of evaluating the service quality and adjustment issues of the international student on their overall service experience, will also evaluate the effect of the experience on their satisfaction and hence word-of-mouth and if they will chose same university for further education.
The main dependent variable in this study is the student satisfaction with the university and the sub dependent variables are Positive word-of-mouth and same university for further study. The independent variables are service quality provided by the university and the student adjustment issues. These independent variables influence both influence the dependent variables.
When there is an overall good experience this will lead to student satisfaction which in turn will lead to a positive word of mouth and may want to further study at same university. If quality of service offered by the school is good and students adjustment to academic, socio-culture and psychological is good this will also lead to student satisfaction. On the contrary if the service provided by the school is good but students have problems with adjusting this may have a negative effect on their overall experience and student satisfaction.
1.6 Research Questions
The central research focuses on the analysis of the international students’ perception of service quality and adjustment issues at Stenden university and the relative impact on student satisfaction and potential student loyalty. The research aims at answering the following research questions:Which service quality factors are most important to international students What are the adjustment issues international students faces What factors affect international students perception of service quality at the university What are the determinants of overall international students perceived service quality In what ways does the quality of service affect the satisfaction of international student How does an adjustment issue affect student satisfaction How can the overall experience of international students be enhanced.
All the information collected will be used strictly for the purpose/objectives of this research and the researcher will abide to the ethical principles of research. The researcher will strive to be objective in her judgment in scenarios that might come up by not taking side but by being critical.
The period required to complete the research is short therefore time is a constraint. The results may not be generalizable as the research involves only a single organisation.
1.9 Overview of the chapters
The study will consist of five chapters followed by reference and appendices
Chapter 1 Introduction consists of:Background of study The significance of the research Purpose of the study Problem statement The conceptual framework Research questions Ethical considerations Research limitations
Chapter 2 Literature reviewHigher Education
– International full-fee paying studentService quality SERVQUAL Dimensions Adjustment issues of international student Student Experience Student Satisfaction
– Positive word-of-mouth
– Chose same university for further study
Chapter 3 MethodologyResearch methodology
– Quantitative researchThe research Process The population under study Research design Data collection
Chapter 4 finding and analysis of DataDemographic profile of sampling Data analysis
Chapter 5 Summary and DiscussionConclusions Discussions Limitations recommendations 1.10 Reference Arambewela, R. and Hall, J. (2006). A Comparative Analysis of International Education Satisfaction Using SERVQUAL. Journal of Services Research 6 pg 141-146 Fleischman, D., Lawley, M., and Raciti, M. Community Engagement and the International Student Experience: Definition. From http://anzmac2010.org/proceedings/pdf/anzmac10Final00179.pdf Khawaja, N. and Dempsey, J. (2007). Psychological Distress in International University Students: An Australian Study. Australian Journal of Guidiance & Counselling 6(1) pg 13-27 Mehdizadeh, N. and Scott, G. (2005). Adjustment problems of Iranian international students in Scotland. International Education Journal, 6(4), 484-493. Pereda, M., Airey, D., and Bennett, M. (2007). Service Quality in Higher Education : The Experience of Overseas Students. Journal of Hospitality, leisure, Sport & Tourism Education 6(2) pg 55-67 Qiang, Z. (2003) Internationalizatin of Higher Education: towards a conceptual framework. Policy Futures in Education 1(2) pg 248-270 Rogers, C. and Smith, P. (1999). Identifying the needs of overseas students: a monitoring exercise at the University of Southampton, August 1992. Journal of International Education 3(3), 7-24 Sadrossadat, S. J. (1995). Psyco-Social and Cultural Adjustment Among International Students at the University of Wollongong, PhD Dissertation, University of Wollongong. Zeithaml, V.A. (1988). “Consumer Perceptions of Price, Quality, and Value: A Means –end Model and Synthesis of Evidence”, Journal of Marketing, 52 (2) Pg 2-22. Zeithaml, V.A, Bitner, M.J.& Gremler, D.D.(2006). Services Marketing: integrated customer focus across the firm. International 4th Edition. Zeithaml, V. A., Parasuraman, A., & Berry, L.L. (1990). Delivering Quality Service: Balancing Customer perceptions and Expectations. NewYork: The Free Press
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