Challenges home and international students face in group work at a Dutch university

Vitaliy Popov*, Dine Brinkman, Karen P.J. Fortuin, Rico Lie, Yaoran Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to provide insights into the challenges that home and international students experience when collaborating in mixed groups. A selection of 261 reflective journals written by students as part of the Intercultural Communication Skills course at a Dutch university in the domains of life sciences and engineering was analyzed. These journals were written by 210 Dutch (= home) students, 22 European (non-Dutch) students, and 29 Asian students. The quantitative analysis showed that the main challenges were group management, contribution to group work, and feedback. Asian students reported challenges related to feedback significantly more often compared to Dutch and other European students. The qualitative analysis showed that Dutch, other European, and Asian students’ concerns differed in terms of interaction and communication styles stemming from their various cultures of learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-678
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
Early online date25 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2022


  • collaboration
  • engineering education
  • higher education
  • international students
  • Multicultural student group work


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