Cultural and Academic Adjustment of International Students in China: A Social Network Perspective

Yue Zhang, Kate and Rienties, Bart (2016). Cultural and Academic Adjustment of International Students in China: A Social Network Perspective. In: Jindal-Snape, Divya and Rienties, Bart eds. Multi-dimensional transitions of international students to higher education. New Perspectives on Learning and Instruction. London: Routledge, pp. 123–139.



In line with the aims of Section 2, this chapter explores international students’ transition experiences in China. The popularity of China as a study abroad destination has been rising rapidly over the past decade (China Association for International Education) (see Figure 8.1). The data show that international students studying in China in 2013 came from over 200 different countries, and Asian countries represented over 60% of the total international student enrolment. However, the number of international students from Africa and Europe has seen the fastest growth (see Table 8.1). There are three factors that might contribute to this latest trend. First, with the rise of higher education internationalisation, more students opt to study overseas in order to enhance their learning experience, feel the pulse of different cultures, and obtain a competitive advantage by having an international expertise (Institute of International Education, 2013; Sherry, Thomas, & Chui, 2010; Zhou, Jindal-Snape, Topping, & Todman, 2008). Second, the increasing economic power of China has made it more attractive for prospective international students. Third, the Chinese government has started a more active marketing strategy to promote studying in China, such as offering more government scholarships and launching more international cooperative programmes (China Scholarship Council, 2012).

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