Xu, Yingxiang (2021) An Exploration of the Commitment to Home Culture and Home Cultural Groups of Chinese International Students in British Higher Education. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research explores the experiences of Chinese international students in British higher education and their commitment to their home society, expressed through the maintenance of both their home culture and close social connections with members of their home cultural group. The research topic is framed by Berry’s model of acculturation, cross-cultural communication theories, and a social capital perspective. These perspectives have been utilized to guide exploration. A mixed-methods approach to data collection was used and consisted of a questionnaire survey and in-depth interviews with four students and one university leader. The analysis indicated that these students’ maintenance of their home culture manifested itself in respect of selecting a name for self-introduction; abandoning certain home educational practices to adopt the new ones; celebrating home festivals; and their consumption of entertainment programmes. The students commonly retained close social ties with their co-cultural peers in the UK, and families and friends in China outside class time. Underperforming students showed their dependency on co-cultural peers in the classroom as well, and together they had a relatively weak social contact with non-Chinese peers which often occurred only during class time. During contacts with the university, these students felt disappointed about not getting explicit and specific assistance for their academic difficulties; during informal contacts with non-Chinese peers, they felt the conflicts of values; and in the formal classroom interaction, underperforming students felt unfamiliar with the classroom culture and found it stressful to adapt. Some others participated in the beginning but abandoned subsequent participation due to the conflict with their previous home learning experiences. Finally, these students demonstrated a highly pragmatic attitude in deciding where and when to retain their home cultural practices or co-cultural contacts, depending on the analysis of their cross-cultural contact experiences, the social capital that could be acquired from their possible actions of acculturation, and the significance of all available social capital. The most common favoured social capitals being access to co-cultural companionship and co-cultural assistance in both academic and non-academic aspects of their experience in the UK.

FINAL THESIS - Xu Yingxiang.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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