A qualitative study of how exclusion processes shape friendship development among Turkish-Belgian university students

F. Zehra Colak, Lore Van Praag, Ides Nicaise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Our knowledge of how ethnic minority students explain and make sense of their friendship preferences in a university setting remains limited, despite the significance of friendships in the adaptation of students to higher education. Drawing on findings from qualitative interviews, this article explores the friendship preferences of 20 Turkish-Belgian university students in the northern part of Belgium. An inductive thematic analysis is conducted to analyse the interviews through constant comparison. The findings demonstrate that students who preferred same-ethnic friendships valued the role of familiarity and a shared understanding. Students with predominantly interethnic friends referred to having interests and attitudes similar to those of their friends. While studentsu8217 friendship preferences evolved over time throughout their educational career, the university context allowed students to strengthen or change their preferences for certain groups of friends with particular traits and/or lifestyles and hence facilitated their preferences for homophilous friendships. These friendship preferences and searches were also shaped by inclusion/exclusion processes. Nearly all participants felt excluded or othered by peers of Belgian origin during everyday interactions on campus. However, they interpreted these exclusion experiences differently based on their peer groups and used distinct coping mechanisms, resulting in distinct patterns of friendship preferences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Volume73
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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