Intercultural engagement in English pathway program

Year: 2019

Author: Zhan, Jinyang

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This study is part of a bigger longitudinal ethnographic case study—“Chinese international students’ interpretations of intercultural experiences during their first-year study in an Australian university”. Recent years have witnessed an increasing number of Chinese students enrolled in Australian universities, and many of them take English pathway program before their Masters study. However, these Chinese students’ intercultural engagements in language institutions are under-researched. Employing semi-structured interviews, focus groups, classroom observations, and social network exchange collection (observing participants’ public posts on Facebook and WeChat) and content and thematic analyses, this study examines 11 Chinese international students’ intercultural engagements during their English pathway study. Drawing on Bourdieu’s (1986) theorization of capital, field, and habitus, this study finds that the students have limited intercultural experiences due to the lack of resources, their motivation for study in the Australian university (getting the overseas diploma), and their way of conceptualizing culture. Suggestions for enhancing pathway students’ learning experiences are also provided in this study.