Original Research

The role of first-year experience excursion in promoting social integration at university: Student teachers’ views

Delia Arends, Nadine F. Petersen
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 8, No 1 | a543 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v8i1.543 | © 2018 Delia Arends, Nadine F. Petersen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 May 2017 | Published: 19 November 2018

About the author(s)

Delia Arends, Centre for Education Practice Research, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Nadine F. Petersen, Department of Childhood Education, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: The Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg, like many other universities worldwide, has a strong focus on first-year experience programmes to promote student academic and social enculturation.

Aim: In this article, we report on students’ views of the role of an education excursion as cohesive device. We were particularly interested in how students establish social relationships with peers, and the values they attribute to these connections over time for their incorporation into university.

Setting: The education excursion consists of a specially designed curriculum in the two day programme, off campus, as an extension of the initial first year seminar.

Methods: Using methods associated with longitudinal studies, we collected data via a biographical survey and questionnaire for first years, followed by dyadic interviews with a purposive sample of students 30 months later. Qualitative content analysis led to several findings.

Results: First-year data reveal that students face many challenges to their integration and that the excursion helps them traverse their individual racial, cultural and religious and language differences. Third years communicate the lasting effects of the excursion on their social and academic integration into university.

Conclusion: The authors conclude that the excursion has long-term value for students’ social integration into the university environment and for bridging the gap between the university lecturers and the students.


Educational excursion; Social integration; Liminality; First Year Experience


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