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Treading on a Foreign Land: A Multiple Case Study of Chinese International Students’ Academic Acculturation Experiences


This article reports a multiple case study to explore the lived academic acculturation experiences of four Chinese international students with limited oral English capacity and how they describe the relationship between low oral English proficiency and academic acculturation. Self-Determination Theory was utilized as the theoretical framework to inform data collection and analysis. Findings indicated all four Chinese students experienced significant psychological stress during their academic acculturation as a direct result of their limited spoken English capacity, which negatively impacted their sense of competence, autonomy and particularly relatedness. Emotional pain, involuntary isolation, helplessness, and regret emerged as the salient themes from the cross-case analysis. Implications for various stakeholders are discussed.

Published: 2019-12-13
Pages:25 to 35

Author Biographies

Queen's University
Canada Canada

Deyu (Cindy) Xing is a recent M.Ed. graduate in the Faculty of Education at Queen’s University, Canada. She earned both her B.Ec. and B.A. at Beijing Foreign Studies University in China prior to Queen’s. Her research interests include foreign language acquisition/education, international students’ academic acculturation, and at-risk learners’ thriving.

Queen's University
Canada Canada

Dr. Benjamin Bolden, music educator and composer, is an associate professor and UNESCO Chair of Arts and Learning at Queen’s University, Canada. His research interests include creativity, arts education systems around the world, the learning and teaching of composing, arts-based research, teacher education, teacher knowledge, and teachers’ professional learning.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795