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Title: A reconceptualisation of the cross-cultural adaptation process from a Chinese student perspective
Author: Luxon, Michele
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is an exploration of how Chinese students adapt to a new educational and socio-cultural environment when they come to Britain to do their undergraduate degree, in the context of increasing internationalisation of higher education in the UK. In this qualitative study 39 Chinese students were interviewed, at different stages of their studies over a two year period, in order to gain insights from their perspective, into their home and host educational environments and their experiences of the acculturation process. The interviews were analysed using a grounded theory methodology with an emphasis on the discovery of theory. The thesis traces the adaptation process, taking its starting point as the two different educational contexts, which act as a predictor for the new academic and socio-cultural conventions that the students encounter, and the adjustments the students have to make to accommodate the new environment. It goes on to trace how the students respond to their new situation and how they subsequently change as a result of their new experiences, at the different stages of adaptation. The main findings from this study show emergent new theory of the cross-cultural adaptation process. The first new finding is the identification of enablers, which facilitate the students' adaptation, in addition to obstacles which have previously been identified, in existing theoretical models, and which by contrast militate against acculturation. The second is the emergence of four different types of student response to their new situation, which have been labelled hedonist, cynic, stoic, and quietist responses, which reflect respectively how the students embrace, reject, are indifferent to or are accepting of the new experiences they encounter. Furthermore, it was found that individual students adapt differently to different aspects of their experiences and so there are multiple configurations of these responses for anyone student. The third finding is the identification of the different roles that students take on at different stages of acculturation: starting out as observers, evolving into strategists and participants and then assuming the role of adviser over the period of their stay in the host environment. This investigation has led to the deconstruction and reformulation of existing theories of acculturation, and the emergence of a reconceptualised cross-cultural adaptation process, from a Chinese student perspective. This new theoretical framework could be used in future studies to examine how other international students adapt to new educational contexts in an era of globalised higher education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available