Students’ Experiences of Othering: An Ethnographic Case Study of an English Language University Preparatory Programme in Qatar

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Magdalena Rostron


This thesis reports on an ethnographic case study of students’ experiences of Othering in an American-administered and accredited university preparatory institution, called the Academic Bridge Program (ABP), part of Qatar Foundation (QF) in Education City (EC), Doha, Qatar. I aimed to find out about various forms of Othering, understood as stereotyping and alienation, present in students’ experiences in the ABP as an internationalised space of learning. I also wanted to examine how those forms of Othering related to different educational processes occurring in this setting with its new academic culture characterised by several key dimensions: co-education, instruction in English, academic integrity, critical thinking, and critical teacher feedback, as well as emphasis on studying in foreign universities. I aimed to consider the study findings in terms of their potential implications for Qatar’s vision of knowledge-based society, educated to Western standards, as well as for similar institutions beyond this setting. In the study, I explored one cohort’s experiences in the ABP over the course of one academic year, focusing on their encounters with the key dimensions of the ABP educational culture. I used a blend of methods and data types, including scheduled observations; informal, semi-structured interviews with volunteering participants (students and colleagues); and field notes. The thesis presents thick description of the research context with emergent understandings of educational, cultural, and social dynamics involved in various forms of Othering local students’ experienced in the ABP. The study found that students’ experiences of Othering resulted in dynamic classroom cultures and interactions, as well as some unexpectedly positive outcomes, leading to potential educational transformations, and subversive tendencies. The study is situated in the field of educational ethnography and aims to offer an original contribution to the literature of Othering in internationalised educational contexts.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2019