Understanding intercultural transitions of medical students

Aneta L. Hayes1, Nasser Mansour2 and Ros Fisher2

1School of Public Policy and Professional Practice, Keele University, UK

2Graduate School of Education, Exeter University, UK

Submitted: 27/11/2014; Accepted: 20/02/2015; Published: 28/02/2015

Int J Med Educ. 2015; 6:26-37; doi: 10.5116/ijme.54e7.b57f

© 2015 Aneta L. Hayes et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: The aim of this research was to explore the transition of medical students to an international branch campus of a medical university established in Bahrain.

Methods: In order to gain insights into this transition, we explored two culturally diverse systems of learning of the university and the local schools in Bahrain, using Commu-nities of Practice as a lens for understanding transitions. Focus groups were conducted with secondary school teachers and first year medical students. Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted with university lecturers.

Results: The findings suggest that, while Communities of Practice have been influential in contextualising transitions to university, this model does not seem to help us to fully understand intercultural transitions to the case-study university.

Conclusions: The research emphasises that more attention should be given to learner individual agency within this theory as a framework for understanding transitions. It also challenges approaches within medical education that attempt to standardise systems of learning through acquisi-tion of established practices.