Wasted, Manipulated and Compressed Time: Adult Refugee Students' Experiences of Transitioning into Australian Higher Education
Journal of Further and Higher Education
ANZSRC / FoR Code
130103 Higher Education
Reportable Items (HERDC/ERA)
While there is a growing knowledge base of how students experience their transitions into and through university, little is known about how they experience the temporal dimensions of their higher education (HE) studies, particularly for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) students. This article draws on Australian longitudinal research that sought to track the experiences of one particularly marginalised group of adult learners – students from refugee backgrounds – as they moved into and through university study. While investigating experiences of time was not an explicit goal of this enquiry, our analysis revealed this as a dominant theme. Therefore, drawing on the conceptualisation of ‘timescales’, this article presents an analysis of the meeting of academic time and the temporalities of students from refugee backgrounds. Using a typology of students’ social meanings of time, we found that time was experienced by the students in our study primarily as wasted/ing time; as a goal or achievement; and as compressed time. We identify areas where these perceptions, enactments and feelings about time can create significant challenges for these students, which are exacerbated by their cultural and linguistic differences with those of the host institution. We contend that these challenges are shared by other ‘non-traditional’ students who balance multiple responsibilities alongside their studies, and we make recommendations for how universities might better respond to their complex needs and lives.
Baker, S., Irwin, E., & Freeman, H. (2020). Wasted, manipulated and compressed time: Adult refugee students' experiences transitioning into Australian higher education. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 44(4), 528-541. doi: 10.1080/0309877X.2019.1586849