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Title: Direct entrant Chinese students in UK higher education : a case study of student expectations and subsequent experiences throughout a key period of transition
Author: Williams, Pauline Margaret
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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This research explored the experiences of a group of Chinese undergraduate students, making the transition to study within the UK higher education system. It focused on these Chinese students' initial expectations, perceptions and then experiences of the UK culture, as well as teaching and learning practices. The study contributes to the literature on international undergraduate students' experience within the UK. As a social constructionist researcher, the particular focus was on a Chinese group as they entered the UK system with advanced standing, gaining direct entry into the final year of an honours degree programme. Increasing numbers of joint ventures between UK and Chinese partners, such as 3+1 programmes, as in this study, have become common University provision. In order to ensure a positive learning experience it is important that the particular needs of such direct entrants are fully understood and addressed. This is a case study which employed a mix of methods including a questionnaire, focus groups and semi-structured interviews, involving both staff and students, in order to increase understanding and validity. Data were grouped into themes. Findings were reported and discussed by thematic description, which integrates the timeframe of the journey the students were on. It was found that overall, how the students made meaning of their learning experiences represents varied, but interrelated, aspects across socio-cultural and academic environments. The multiple aspects that shaped the students' experience were identified as: linguistic skill and interaction with host culture and peer networks; the living arrangements and support; assessment and writing skills; and the student to tutor relationship. Without the provision of appropriate support and recognition of needs, the cultural challenges may be more keenly felt by students. There is a need to ensure the development of both staff and student intercultural competence, and so significantly enhance their intercultural identities. This research has made a significant contribution to the literature on the transition of international students to studying the UK, particularly those travelling within a group and/or entering a programme with advanced standing. This research process has contributed to changes in the author's pedagogical approach and to a greater critical awareness of the author's own assumptions and beliefs. The journey and knowledge has increased the author's awareness of the complexity of intercultural communication, in particular the recognition that participants should be developed to enable a synergistic intercultural experience, which, in turn, has broader implications for international higher education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available