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Chinese Indonesians pursuing Higher Education in Singapore: A Grounded Theory Approach

By Kai Kok Sunny Goh


This study generates a substantive theory of how Chinese Indonesian undergraduates adapt themselves in a Singapore private university. This thesis adopts an interpretivistic perspective and engages grounded theory research methodology. The principal source of information is a series of in-depth individual and focus group interviews with a group of 20 participants, supplemented by their diary accounts of their study activities over a week-long period. The first major outcome of this study is the generation of the theory of Selective Accommodation that describes how these international students apply various social-psychological strategies based on their perceptions of their sojourn in a foreign country and on their future intentions. Their accommodation distinctiveness, on the one hand, is a response to the perceived political persecution they face as minorities in their home country and to their acquired Indonesian culture. On the other hand, their accommodation strategies are also facilitated by Singapore’s vision of becoming a global educational hub. The result was the derivation of five accommodation categories of push factors, pull factors, pliability, study mechanisms and future direction. The second major outcome that arises from the grounded theory approach is the development of a typology of Chinese Indonesians based on how they react to the five categories during their three-year tertiary courses. This typology consists of four Ideal Types of accommodation, namely ambassadors, adherents, achievers and apathetics. In short, this study provides a fresh perspective on how foreign students adapt to life on foreign soil in their own unique ways. At the same time, it has implications for the development of theory, practice and educational research in cross border student migration

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2011
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