Title: Examining Chinese Students’ Motivations for Overseas Education and the Implications of the Study Abroad Experiences on Their Transitions to Adulthood
Stream: International Education
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation
Chang Liu, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Studying overseas is a popular option for many young individuals to undertake as part of their educational journey. Since China has emerged as the world's largest source of international students, Chinese students' motives of pursuing foreign education have gained remarkable scholarly attention. As the cross-border sojourn often occurs in the youthful period of one's life course, the implications of this journey on Chinese youths' transitions to adulthood have also been of interest to recent research. Situated in international education and youth studies, this paper discusses the motivations behind Chinese students' decisions to study abroad and how this international sojourn shapes their transitions to adulthood. Through literature review, this paper found that the target group’s study-abroad decision making is influenced by various macro-level drivers, including globalisation, neoliberalism, and China’s domestic conditions. From a micro-level perspective, this paper identified that studying overseas is not only a sought-after route to overcome individual academic failures and systemic deficits, but also to accrue valuable resources and satisfy the desires to explore the world. Moreover, this paper noticed that regarding their transitions to adulthood, Chinese youths’ study-abroad experiences are fraught with struggles, tensions, and complexities. Specifically, the overseas journeys can both accelerate and delay their adolescence-adulthood pathways in the aspects of physical freedom, self-responsibility, economic independence, as well as marriage. Broadly, this paper offers practical implications on international student recruitment in higher education. It also serves as a basis for future research on international education and youth studies to explore diverse study-abroad destinations and experiences.
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