International doctoral students’ identity formulations through their orientations to their children’s languages as both stressors and assets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This study contributes to research on the doctoral experience of international students who are parents, and for whom the temporary experience of living elsewhere is both a challenge and a resource for all members of the family. The study investigated how a group of these students positioned themselves to their children’s English and home language during their study abroad. A group of 12 international doctoral students from one Australian university and one primary school teacher took part in the study. The doctoral students were from a number of non-anglophone countries. Membership Categorisation Analysis was used to examine the identity categories invoked during focus group discussions. The categories bilingual, student, parent, tutor and spouse, the category devices family, study, nationality/language, time and location, and the attributes responsibility and inadequacy that emerged in the analysis, suggest that language issues are important considerations for international students with families, and need focused attention.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Bilingualism
  • English language
  • Home language
  • International doctoral students with family
  • Membership categories
  • Stressors and opportunities

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