Chinese learners’ perceptions and constructions of British academic culture

Project: Research council

Project Details


British Academy small research grant

Layman's description

This project was designed to explore Chinese-speaking students’ experiences of life at a British university, focusing on their views of the host academic culture and the extent to which their expectations were met. Interview-based case studies were conducted with 20 full time masters’ students from Mainland China and Taiwan. By following them through the entire cycle of their one-year programmes it was possible to document the cultural, linguistic and academic challenges they faced. The interviews were conducted in Mandarin Chinese, which allowed the participants a greater range of expression and enabled more fruitful field relations.

Key findings

The results revealed that academic departments varied in their efforts towards integration, and that, despite initial expectations of an intercultural experience and improved English language skills, many participants felt marginalised by the host culture. Participants also expressed frustration at the tendency of Western staff and students to reduce Chinese-speaking cultures to (frequently negative) stereotypes.
Effective start/end date1/04/061/09/07


  • P Language and Literature
  • H Social Sciences


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