The onset of COVID-19 has triggered a quick transition in HE to online environments. This has had consequences for academic staff, but it also has real implications for students, many of whom have never experienced online education before. Little is known about students’ experiences when their studies are unexpectedly migrated online, including the kind of novel cultural experience that accompanies this switch over and above teaching and learning practices.
This switch has impacted student groups differently, but none more so than international students when Universities homogenise students and imagine them to be able to return home and proceed with their studies from there. This paper focuses on the experiences of international students who often have to negotiate their cultural capital in the context of on-campus education as a process of self-formation. What happens when their on-campus experience is moved online? We explore the interplay between international students’ digital cultural knowledge and their experiences of HE during a unique period when on-campus life is substituted with an online version.