From Asia to Europe: Motivation to Study Abroad and Intercultural Adaptation of Chinese Doctoral Students

Conference: The European Conference on Education (ECE2022)
Title: From Asia to Europe: Motivation to Study Abroad and Intercultural Adaptation of Chinese Doctoral Students
Stream: Learning Experiences, Student Learning & Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Poster Presentation
Ruoyi Qiu, University of Padova, Italy
Monica Fedeli, University of Padova, Italy


The internationalization of higher education has become the center of research interest in the past years (Buckner & Stein, 2020; Garwe & Thondhlana, 2021; Ghazarian, 2020). Studying abroad has become a common phenomenon in the higher education system, and crossing borders for the purpose of learning is not a novelty (Altbach, 2004). Even though affected by the new crown epidemic, the scale of Chinese students studying in Italy has changed compared with the previous, the number of students has dropped, but the educational exchanges between China and Italy are still going on as usual. According to the Open Doors 2021 Report on International Educational Exchange, there are more than 3,000 Chinese students enrolled in Italian institutions in 2020/21. Studies has shown that international students from Asian countries have greater adjustment difficulties than international students from non-Asian countries (Abe et al., 1998; Wu et al., 2015). The existing literature has noted that students from Asian countries encounter considerably more academic and social difficulty than non-Asian international students or other student groups do, due to linguistic and cultural barriers (Abe et al., 1998; Andrade, 2006; Leong, 2015; Rienties et al., 2012; Wu et al., 2015). The present study explores the motivation to study abroad and the intercultural adaptation of Chinese doctoral students at Italian HEI by using a narrative inquiry approach through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions, trying to help international students stay motivated to adjust to the new intercultural environment when experiencing cultural disequilibrium studying abroad.

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