Hattersley, David (2020) The Value of Overseas Study for Chinese International Students: A Liminal Experience. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The aim of this study is to identify the value sought by Chinese International students (CIS) from their overseas study experience, to examine how that value is created, and determine what influence culture has on that process. The study is grounded in the marketing discipline and draws on literature relating to Value, Internationalization of Higher Education, and Liminality to provide a novel understanding of the value creation process within the intercultural context of UK higher education.

I adopted a social constructionist approach to my study based on a growing body of research which suggests that value is a social construction rooted in a cultural perspective. I interviewed twenty CIS, at different stages of higher education study within the UK, about their own individual experience and about their thoughts on the experience of other members of the CIS community. I adopted a hermeneutic phenomenological approach to data analysis based on emerging data which resonated with my own previous experience.

My study identified a number of socio-cultural drivers behind the increasing number of CIS studying in the UK, including rising affluence and increasing competition for jobs and university places within China. The study theorizes a link between these socio-cultural drivers and the value sought by CIS from their overseas study experience. In particular, I posit a link between CIS' time in the UK and the value it presents as a ‘liminal’ practice, a concept derived from van Gennep's (1960) anthropological work 'The Rites of Passage'. Essentially, liminality defines a transitional state between two more fixed points. In addition, my study also draws on Turner's (1982) concept of a 'liminoid' experience, a development of van Gennep's (1960) work.

By considering value from different areas of research the findings contribute to a greater understanding of how both value and culture are socially constructed within an intercultural environment, my findings also provide valuable insights into the drivers and value creation of CIS studying within UK higher education institutions (HEIs). By conceptualizing a link between value and liminality the study provides a new perspective by which researchers and HEIs can better understand the experience of CIS within UK HEIs.

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

Download (2MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email