Exploring the experiences of international Chinese students at a UK university: a qualitative inquiry

Andrew J. Holliman, Amanda S. Bastaman, Hiu S. Wu, Shuyue Xu, Daniel Waldeck

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The largest group of international students pursuing their overseas higher education in the UK come from China; and yet, little qualitative research has explored the experiences of Chinese students who have recently made this transition, with even less focusing on the experiences of both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The present article set out to explore the unique perspective of a small sample of first-year undergraduate and first-year postgraduate students (N = 18), on their experience of transitioning to a higher education institution in the UK. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and thematic analysis was used to explore their experiences in greater depth. Two superordinate themes are reported here: “Education Dialogues and Scholarship” and “Intercultural Relations and Notions of Difference.” The findings suggest that despite advances in institutional practices to support international students’ transition to higher education in the UK, more work needs to be done to redress the sociocultural (and other) challenges that continue to exist for international Chinese students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-22
Number of pages16
JournalMulticultural Learning and Teaching
Issue number1
Early online date3 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 3 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Open Access. © 2022 the author(s), published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY)


  • China
  • higher education
  • international
  • thematic analysis
  • university


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