An Investigation into Acculturative Stress
: A Multiple-case Study of Three UK Students Studying Abroad in China

  • Wenxuan Li

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


The cross-cultural adaptation of study abroad (SA) students, especially those moving from Western countries to Asian contexts, is an under-researched phenomenon. In recent years, however, a notable increase in the number of students from traditionally host cultures, such as the UK, have moved to Asian countries such as China to fulfil their foreign language learning requirements. This study thus aimed to investigate the experiences of such students, as understanding such cross-cultural adaptation may be significant to foreign language education in the UK, where the integration of study-abroad components is compulsory in language-related degree programmes. This study specifically investigated the cross-cultural adaptation of three students from the UK who were enrolled at different Chinese universities. An adapted version of Kim’s (2001) theory of integrative communication and cross-cultural adaptation was used as a theoretical lens to analyse the experiences of the participants; this was chosen as it foregrounds host social communication and host media communication as representing key components of adaptation and growth in host cultures. In addition, Hymes’ (1974) SPEAKING model was adopted in the data analysis as it brought a contextual perspective to the topic.
Date of Award19 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJanina Iwaniec (Supervisor) & James Mckinley (Supervisor)

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