A Qualitative Understanding of Doctoral Students’ Experience of Embodiment
Human beings exist in the world ‘bodily’ and their existence is inexorable. International doctoral students’ understanding of themselves and their perspectives of the learning environment is through their embodiment. The purpose of the present research was to understand doctoral students’ embodiment experiences in relation to a culturally and academically diverse university environment. This understanding was gained through the phenomenological lense of qualitative research. For this purpose, thirteen doctoral students were selected through maximum variation sampling from the Austrian public sector universities located in different states. They were doing doctoral studies in various physical and social sciences at different stages of their dissertation. The understanding of the phenomenon was sought through semi-structured interviews. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed by coding the text and categorizing it into themes that emerged while frequently reading the transcripts. The emerging themes include ‘stress and anxiety, ‘confidence and motivation’ and ‘physical fatigue and exertion’. Most of the students experienced ‘confidence’, ‘encouragement’, ‘depression’, ‘nervousness’, ‘homesickness’, ‘stress’ and ‘frustration’ when asked about ‘lived body’ or corporeality. The study has implications in understanding doctoral students’ ‘bodily’ existence in the universities.