This thesis is concerned with the growing phenomenon of mainland Chinese students studying in Hong Kong universities and the lifestyle and academic adjustment process they undergo in terms of living and studying. Since 2005, Hong Kong Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have been invited to participate in the national universities' admission system of China and recruit yearly the brightest students in increasing numbers from the mainland. \ud The aim of this research project is to explain why mainland Chinese students opt to complete their higher education in Hong Kong and understand the issues mainland students face when going to live and study in Hong Kong Higher Education Institutions, including the difficulties they encounter and the adaptation strategies they develop as well as their future plans after graduation. \ud The study draws insight from a qualitative research approach within an interpretivist paradigm. Data were collected through face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with nineteen mainland students studying in the University in Hong Kong. The case study approach was used in order to study individual cases. The purpose of this study is not to test a theory; rather, its aim is to explore the mainland students' experiences regarding the phenomenon of cultural and personal adjustment they make when leaving their homeland in order to live and study in Hong Kong. To this end, the study conceptualises the adaptation process, and by so doing, contributes to a developing body of theory on internationalisation of higher education and students studying overseas. \ud In terms of its contribution to the literature, this study found that mainland students chose Hong Kong for the completion of their higher education for societal, economic, educational, familial and personal reasons. As the difficulties they encountered in doing so were often based on their individual circumstances, each developed his/her own strategies to overcome them. Importantly, although encountering initial challenges regarding living and studying in Hong Kong, the mainland students eventually prefer to stay and work in Hong Kong after graduation. \ud The study offers an Emergent Model to describe the experiences and adaptation strategies of mainland students during their sojourn in Hong Kong. This model is derived from students’ perspectives about their experiences and their decision-making in adopting adaptation strategies as means of coping. This project contributes to the emerging research tradition of comparative cross-cultural studies. At the same time, it has implications for the development of theory, practice and future research in the internationalisation of higher education
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