Visitor or Inhabitant? The Needs of Undergraduate Transnational Medical Students

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


We conducted this research to identify key issues and their impact upon undergraduate students at a large Australian university delivering an undergraduate medicine course in Australia and Malaysia. The bi-national setting provided a unique opportunity to explore issues for a single medicine course delivered in two culturally and geographically distinct locations, extending the relevance of this study to other (non-Australian) providers of transnational medical education.
This study was undertaken to identify key issues for undergraduate medical students undertaking their course in both on and offshore settings and the impact of these issues on the student’ ability to learn.
Issues/Questions for exploration or ideas for discussion:
Impact on students moving into cultures which are not familiar to them. Approaches to program implementation that are sensitive to the diversity of their students and responsive to the future needs of graduates. Challenges to implementing appropriate programs to ensure cultural safety.
The data mapped to a Maslow’s hierarchy of needs affecting students’ ability to learn. These were categorized under four major themes: context and culture; language and communication; relationships; and coping.
The results highlight the complexities of migration from one learning environment to another and suggest the need for a cohesive institutional approach to support medical student movement between culturally diverse settings as well as the translation of medical curriculum from one cultural context to another.
This research suggests that to meet the challenges of transnational education, institutions require a customized approach.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2011


  • international students
  • student experience
  • student needs
  • cultural safety

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