“I Am Different From Other Women In The World” The Experiences Of Saudi Arabian Women Studying Online In International Master Programmes

  • 1 Laureate Online Education, The Netherlands

Abstract

This paper presents findings from a qualitative study that investigated seven female Saudi Arabian students of the University of Liverpool’s online Masters programmes. Qualitative, first-person research methods and hermeneutic phenomenology were chosen for the analysis and interpretation of transcripts (Langeveld, 1983; van Manen, 1997; Creswell, 2007, Roth, 2012). The principles of cultural anthropology (Hall & du Gay, 1996; Hannerz, 1992; Lull, 2001; Coleman, 2010) were used to take a snapshot of the interviewees’ particular world to provide an overview of the Saudi Arabian culture where the role of women is at the centre of academic, political, religious and social debate These findings reflect the participants’ everyday lives, identities, values and beliefs, presented in a self-reflective, personal ‘life-world’ story of one single Saudi Arabian woman. The findings demonstrate that the primary motivators in choosing online international education to further study are existing limitations of travelling to a university campus and customary gender-segregated education in Saudi Arabia. As a contrast, international online education offers the opportunity to gain up-to-date research-based knowledge in their chosen profession, learn critical thinking and problem solving skills and communicate with male and female students from different cultures.

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