The great influx of international students into UK
universities has led to internationalisation becoming an important issue.
Previous studies have focused on the integration of home and international
students, illustrating a lack of intercultural interaction. Yet there has been
a lack of research investigating international students' networks and how these
networks evolve over time. The study reported in the current paper sought to
fill this gap. The research findings were interpreted through the lens of
community of practice (COP) and social networks (SN) theories. Findings
confirmed that international students have four distinct types of network. The
class did not evolve towards a single cohesive network, rather there were
changing clusters of relationship. The findings showed that although
co-national factors are important at the beginning of students' learning, they
are not always the main influences shaping student networks. The findings are
significant for both institutions and teachers.