Enhancing the Experience & Outcomes of International HDR Candidates: A guide for Candidates

Undertaking a higher degree research (HDR) program outside of your home country – and in a language other than your first language – is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It’s an intercultural journey associated with the dynamic, evolving and transnational flow of ideas, knowledge, practice, intellectual values and social and professional networks.

International HDR candidates can make significant contributions to the development of cultural awareness, transnational networks and, importantly, to the enrichment and advancement of research at your host university.

However, international HDR candidates can face multiple struggles arising from unfamiliar socio-cultural and academic practices. Thus it is essential for candidates to develop the skills to negotiate cultural differences and multiple cultural, professional and personal adjustments.

This guide outlines six good practice principles for international HDR candidates who seek successful and positive experiences within transnational higher degree research.

About the Authors

  • LiLy Nguyen, The University of Melbourne
  • Associate Professor Ly Thi Tran, Deakin University
  • Dr Wendy Green, The University of Tasmania

Higher Degree Research

This project was funded by IEAA and published in July 2017. The authors wish to acknowledge the support of Deakin University and the University of Tasmania for the development of this digest and the accompanying guides.

Australia hosts more than 20,000 international higher degree research (HDR) candidates, which constitutes around 32 per cent of the total HDR cohort (DET, 2017). Many universities around the globe are now strategically focusing on increasing their number of international HDR candidates.

International HDR candidates can make original contributions to knowledge and the enrichment of research as well as to the development of cultural understandings and transnational networks in their host universities. However, many of these potential contributions often remain under-recognised and international HDR candidates continue to report substantial challenges in successfully completing their studies.

This research digest, and accompanying guides, explore the concept of reciprocal intercultural supervision. The guides focus on three key stakeholders:

  • International candidates
  • Supervisors and
  • Research training managers.

Published: July 2017