Inter-cultural learning experiences of Chinese background international students in Australian tertiary education contexts

Year: 2009

Author: Fan, Si, Yue, Yun

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Recently, there has been a significant increase in the number of international students attending universities and acquiring higher education in Australia. Over 80% of these international students were from Asian countries, with most of them having a Chinese background. These Chinese students experience a range of challenges and problems when they encounter a western educational environment markedly different from the educational system in their own country. To complete their study successfully, these Chinese students had to make adjustments and adapt different coping strategies to overcome the language and cultural difficulties. This study involved the participation of over fifty students, with a Chinese background, from three Australian academic institutions. It has explored the perceptions encountered by Chinese-background students in their study, as well as the adjustments made by them. The data used for this study were drawn from semi-structured interviews and surveys conducted in three tertiary education contexts. The findings appeared to confirm that most of these Chinese-background students are indeed successfully implementing coping strategies to succeed despite the obstacles faced, and some support strategies are preferred and expected in their learning. The findings of this study would assist current and potential Chinese-background students, as well as improve higher education practice in Australian academic institutions.

Key Phrase: Higher Education