Cultural influences on motivational issues in students and their goals for studying at University

Marion Engin, Kara McKeown


The notion of motivation in language learning comprises a discourse including terms such as 'goals', 'expectations', 'achievement' and 'success'. In most studies on motivation such concepts have been interpreted from a Western perspective. Similarly, underpinning motivation is the concept of values, which are also open to cultural interpretations. In an exploration into the motivation of female students at a federal university in the United Arab Emirates it was felt that such terms and notions needed to be explored and discussed before examining specific motivations for studying at higher education. This article reports on a small investigation into cultural interpretations of these terms, and how these interpretations influence motivation for learning at tertiary level. The results indicate that in a collectivist culture in transition such as that examined in this study, the values of tradition and achievement influence an extrinsic motivation to study at tertiary level.


culture; motivation; goals

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