University of Oulu

Their story, our story, my story : a narrative inquiry on postgraduate international students’ psychological well-being experiences at the University of Oulu

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Author: Beltrán, Ana1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
Pages: 108
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Beltrán, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-09-17
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Karjalainen, Magda
Reviewer: Karjalainen, Magda
Lutovac, Sonja
Lehtomäki, Elina


This study focuses on the experiences of eight postgraduate international students at the University of Oulu in Finland. The thesis follows narrative inquiry as the research methodology and heart of the inquiry. The research puzzles (Clandinin, 2016) of this study seek to understand postgraduate international students’ stories regarding psychological well-being experiences at the University of Oulu, and secondly, how psychological well-being services feature in research participants’ stories. The thesis explores internationalisation in the Finnish higher education context, its history, current market-oriented governmental policies and challenges experienced at the institutional level. Then, the thesis presents the role of different psychological well-being support services for international students at the University of Oulu. In terms of the theoretical framework, multidimensional transitions experienced by international students when living abroad are described first, followed by a broad analysis of mental health, addressed from postmodern, positive, multidimensional and cross-cultural lenses. Counselling services are also analysed from a critical and dialogical standpoint.

The eight interviews of this study were analysed from a three- dimensional space data-analysis approach and creative research practices. The findings of this study are presented in two parts —Their story and Our story— both based on relational ontological commitment of the researcher. The thesis is meant to contribute to discussions about how international students experience multidimensional transitions at the University of Oulu, how these situations interrelate with their psychological well-being and the psychological well-being support services, and understand the gaps, miscommunications and implications that students’ stories suggested. The value of this thesis lies in its holistic and narrative approach, which enables to conclude the study by opening new research puzzles. Finally, “My story” reflects on the researcher’s personal story, recognising among other criteria, sincerity, vulnerability, relational ethics and researching on the borderlands as key drivers for evaluating this study.

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Copyright information: © Ana Beltrán, 2020. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.