Chinese students' social integration into the university community: hearing the students' voices

Spencer-Oatey, Helen; Dauber, Daniel; Jing, Jing; Lifei, Wang
November 2017
Higher Education (00181560);Nov2017, Vol. 74 Issue 5, p739
Academic Journal
According to UNESCO statistics, the People's Republic of China (PRC) sends far more students to study overseas than any other country in the world. Similarly, from the receiving countries' point of view, PRC students form by far the highest proportion of international students. In many respects, this is a success story, but it also poses a number of risks to universities. This paper focuses on one of those key risks that of student dissatisfaction (including from PRC students themselves). Using a sequential mixed-method study, it addresses two research questions: (a) Chinese students' level of satisfaction with their social integration into the university community and (b) the barriers that Chinese students' perceive in becoming more socially integrated into the university student community. The research finds that many Chinese students are dissatisfied with their range of friendships and that they find it more challenging to socialise with students of other nationalities than other students do. They point out a number of barriers to integration, with cultural distance playing a major role, but also argue for the impact of individual factors. The paper concludes by considering the implications for universities and suggestions for further research.


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