Out of the ivory tower: the impact of wider social contact on the values, religious beliefs and identities of Chinese postgraduate students in the UK
Li, D. (2012) Out of the ivory tower: the impact of wider social contact on the values, religious beliefs and identities of Chinese postgraduate students in the UK. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 12 (2). pp. 241-258. ISSN 1470-109X
To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/13613324.2011.585339
This article explores the impact of wider social contact on the experience of Chinese postgraduate students of adaptation to life in the UK. Focus group and individual interviews were conducted with a group of 11 Chinese students on an MA programme at a university in southern England and individual interviews with three representatives of a local volunteer group (LVG) offering support to the Chinese students. Although it was perceived that the students’ support needs were not adequately met by the University, the additional support offered outside the University was unanimously valued and considered as enriching their cultural and linguistic experiences and meeting their expectations. However, frequent social contact with the LVG, whose members were mostly Christians, also had an impact on their values, religious beliefs and identities. In a discussion framed within the sociological perspective of proselytization or religious conversion and the broad framework of international education and globalization, the different responses to this contact are described in terms of believers, doubters, empathisers and commentators. Implications are considered for universities, people involved in providing social support for international students, and sponsors of international students.
References Abel, A. 2006. Favor fishing and punch-bowl Christians: Ritual and conversion in a Chinese Protestant Church. Sociology of Religion 67, no. 2: 161-178. Back, A. 2001. Issues of identity and control for Chinese students in Australia. PhD diss., Griffith University. Carénas, F. 2006. Exploring the impact of British higher education on the identites of international students. PhD diss., The University of Reading. Castells, M. 1997. The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Volume II: The Power of Identity. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell publishers. Chowdhurry, M. R. 2009. Globalisation, international education and the marketing of TESOL: Student identity as a site of conflicting forces. PhD diss., Monash University. Coverdale-Jones, T., and P. Rastall, eds. 2006. The Chinese Learner. Language, Culture and Curriculum 19: 1-153. Crystal, D. 2003. English as a global language (2nd edn). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ding, H. 2008. Living through ambiguity: The cross-cultural experience of Chinese students in London. PhD diss., University of London, Goldsmiths College. Ding, H. 2009. East meets West: Chinese students making sense of their cultural identity in London. Changing English 16, no. 3: 313-321. Dolby, N. 2005. Globalisation, identity, and nation: Australian and American undergraduates abroad. The Australian Educational Researcher 32, no. 1: 101-118. Edwards, V. and R. An. 2006. Meeting the Needs of Chinese Students in UK Higher Education. http://www.ncll.org.uk/10_about/50_research/10_research_projects/chinesestudents_html (accessed 10 January, 2010). Edwards, V., R. An, and D. Li. 2007. Uneven playing field or falling standards: Chinese students' competence in English. Race Ethnicity & Education 10: 387-400. Giddens, A. 1991. Modernity and self-identity: Self and society in the late modern age. Cambridge: Polity Press in association with Blackwell Publishing. Graddol, D. 1997. The future of English. The British Council. Hall, B. 2006. Social and cultural contexts in conversion to Christianity among Chinese American college students. Sociology of Religion 67, no. 2: 131-147. Hsieh, M. 2006. Identity negotiation among female Chinese international students in second language higher education. College Student Journal 40, no. 4: 870-884. Keeley, B. 2009. International migration: The human face of globalization. OECD. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=wKozXPp3VqcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=migration:+the+human+face+of+globalization+Brian+Keeley&source=bl&ots=Mgw2ZLedgG&sig=svmS3pm4WVFhMzfGxdcYiTXXqh4&hl=en&ei=-2CNS_GFD5O7jAfXlpjXDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CA8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=&f=true (accessed 3 February, 2010). Li, D. 2001. Motivation, Learner Strategies, and Social Networks in Second Language Acquisition in Chinese Research Students. PhD diss., The University of Reading. Li, D. 2006. Motivation in second language acquisition in Chinese research students in the UK. Evaluation and Research in Education 19: 38-58. Li, D. 2007. Coping with linguistic challenges in UK Higher Education: The use of strategies by Chinese research students. Language Learning Journal 35: 205-219. Mendieta, E. 2003. Afterword Identities: Postcolonial and Global. In Identities: Race, class, gender, and nationality, ed. L. M. Alcoff and E. Mendieta, 407-416. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Ng, K. H. 2002. Seeking the Christian Tutelage: Agency and culture in Chinese immigrants’ conversion to Christianity. Sociology of Religion 63, no. 2: 195-214. Patron, M. C. 2005. The re-negotiation of cultural identity of French academic sojourners during cross-cultural transition in Australia. In Stimulating the action as participants in participatory research, Vol. 3, ed. B. Bartlett, F. Bryer and R. Roebuck, 39-50. Nathan, Qld: Griffith University, School of Cognition, Language, and Special Education. Philo, G. n. d. Cultural transfer: The impact of direct experience on evaluations of British and Chinese societies. Glasgow: Glasgow University Media Group. http://www.gla.ac.uk/centres/mediagroup/cultural%20transfer.pdf (Accessed 5 November, 2008). Scollon, R., and S. W. Scollon. 1995. Intercultural Communication: A Discourse Approach. Oxford: Blackwell. The British Council (2008) China Market Introduction. http://www.britishcouncil.org/eumd-information-background-china.htm (Accessed 27 January, 2010). UKCOSA (2004) Broadening Our Horizons: International Students in UK Universities and Colleges (London, UKCOSA). http://www.ukcosa.org.uk/survey/index.htm (accessed 5 August, 2006). Wang, Y., and F. Yang. 2006. More than Evangelical and ethnic: The ecological factor in Chinese conversion to Christianity in the United States. Sociology of Religion 67, no. 2: 179-192. Yang, F. 1998. Chinese conversion to Evangelical Christianity: The importance of social and cultural contexts. Sociology of Religion 59, no. 3: 237-257. Yang, F., and J. B. Tamney. 2006. Exploring mass conversion to Christianity among the Chinese: An introduction. Sociology of Religion 67, no. 2: 125-129. Zhang, X. 2006. How religious organisations influence Chinese conversion to Evangelical Protestantism in the United States. Sociology of Religion 67, no. 2: 149-159.
Centaur Editors: Update this record