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First Year Transition Through a Cultural Lens: Face Strategies of Vietnamese Students


While Vietnamese students continue to enrol in international branch university campuses in Vietnam, little is known about the Vietnamese first year transition into these institutions, especially from a cultural perspective. This article presents the findings of four case studies that explored the face strategies used by Vietnamese undergraduate business students in transition to an international branch campus based in Vietnam. The use of collectivist and individualist face strategies was examined in three phases: at commencement, mid-way and at the end of the first year of studies. The findings suggest that collectivist face strategies might not be employed as often as expected by Vietnamese first year students in this context even though they transition from a Confucian heritage culture. Understanding face strategies can help anticipate challenges of Vietnamese students studying in English-medium environments and inform culturally sensitive practices in teaching and learning.

Published: 2020-10-16
Pages:82 to 90
How to Cite
Nguyen, L., Chester, A., Herbert, A., & Lugg, A. (2020). First Year Transition Through a Cultural Lens: Face Strategies of Vietnamese Students. Student Success, 11(2), 82-90.

Author Biographies

RMIT University Vietnam
Viet Nam Viet Nam

Linda Nguyen is Lecturer in the School of Communication & Design, RMIT University Vietnam where she teaches undergraduate courses in the Professional Communication program. As an academic, Linda has worked with various learner groups of different cultures in Vietnam and overseas. Her research interests include first year transition, academic expectations, academic success and students from Confucian Heritage Cultures.

RMIT University
Australia Australia

Professor Andrea Chester is the Dean of the School of Education at RMIT University. She has a background in psychology education and practice, with more than 20 years of experience as an academic. Her research combines an interest in student and staff wellbeing and learning. Her work has explored the development of transformative learning experiences through partnerships. She has explored partnerships amongst local and international students, first year and later year students, and on and off campus students. She has developed models to support transformative, reflective and professional learning for staff and she is currently involved in frameworks to engage students and staff in co-design partnerships.

RMIT University
Australia Australia

Associate Professor in Education (adjunct) at RMIT University, Australia, Anne Herbert, is also Docent in Management at Aalto University, Finland. She teaches Management for Aalto University, supervises research students, and advises the Australian Aid Program in Vietnam. Her research is in the areas of higher education management and organisation, and teaching and learning in higher education.

RMIT University
Australia Australia

Dr Alison Lugg is a senior lecturer in the School of Education at RMIT, Melbourne. Alison has a background in secondary school teaching and has worked as an academic in teacher education for 24 years. Her research interests include professional development of pre-service teachers, assessment of readiness to teach, sustainability education in teacher preparation, outdoor environmental education curriculum.  Alison’s research employs qualitative methodologies including case study, collaborative and arts-based approaches, through ecological and socio-cultural theoretical frameworks.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795