Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Challenges of university academic adjustment: a case study of East Asian international postgraduate students at one British university

By Wenli Wu


This is a study of international East Asian (Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Thai and Korean) postgraduate students' experience of adjustment (n=40) at a university in the UK in the year 2004/5. It is an empirical case study which investigates English language adjustment, academic adjustment and sociocultural adjustment. It employs a mix of methods - questionnaire, research diary, and interviews, in order to achieve triangulation for validity and reliability. Data were coded in order and grouped into themes. Findings were reported in eight narrative accounts of individual students, in a thematic description, and in models of integration and adjustment. It was found that, overall, East Asian students were largely positive and the study describes strategies used to address difficulties and challenges. However one example of failure in the university (i. e. an unhappy experience) was given. The study presents the notion of an "Integrated international student experience" to help understand the experience of the sojourner in an academic institution. This research has made a significant contribution to the literature on adjustment and transition of international students in the UK. In addition, using narrative accounts to present data has also contributed to methodological issues in studying living and study abroad

Topics: LB2300
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1981). A categorized list of motivation definitions, with suggestions for a consensual definition. doi
  2. (1994). A new look at an old construct: cross-cultural adaptation. doi
  3. (1991). A place in the sun: overseas students' perceptions of academic success.
  4. (2002). A qualitative inquiry into changes in Chinese studentsleamer strategy use after arrival in the UK. MA dissertation.
  5. (2004). A study of academic adjustment experiences of international mainland Chinese students on taught Master's courses at the University of WarwIck. MA dissertation.
  6. (1992). A study of adjustment problems of international students at
  7. (1987). Academic adjustment: the other side of the export dollar. doi
  8. (1996). Achieving business in Confucian societies- the importance of Guanxi (Connections). doi
  9. (1955). Adjustment in a foreign society: Norwegian Fulbright grantees visiting the United States.
  10. (1994). Adjustment in Japan. Intemational Joumal of
  11. (2003). An experience of intercultural ity: student travellers abroad.
  12. (1997). An exploratory study of the problems encountered by international students.
  13. (1994). An introduction to intercultural communication.
  14. (1990). An investigation of the problems of overseas students in Britain and their perceived need for help.
  15. (2003). Applications of case study research.
  16. (1994). Asian student perspectives on American university instruction. doi
  17. (2006). Best practice when lecturing to international students.
  18. (1976). Beyond culture. Garden City:
  19. (2001). Beyond Kotoba to Kokoro: exploring the dimensions of intercultural learning during study abroad.
  20. (2002). British cultural identities. doi
  21. (2006). British students in France. 10 Years on.
  22. (2004). Broadening our horizons: international students in UK Universities and Colleges.
  23. (1994). Case study research: design and methods. doi
  24. (1986). Chinese personality and its change.
  25. (2006). Chinese students' psychological and sociocultural adjustments to Britain. an empirical study. doi
  26. (1985). Cognitive psychology and its implications. 2 nd ed. doi
  27. (1999). Communicating across cultures.
  28. (1997). Communication for learning across cultures, doi
  29. (1986). Communication in the intercultural re-entry: student sojourners' perceptions of change in re-entry relationship.
  30. (2006). Comparing the experience of Chinese and West African students at a British University: findings from a survey.
  31. (1989). Coordinating attention to people, objects, and language. In* doi
  32. (1996). Cross-cultural comparisons of language learning strategies in the People's Republic of China and other countries.
  33. (1981). Cross-cultural encounters. doi
  34. (2004). Cue the praying hands and ill-informed bow.
  35. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. doi
  36. (1986). Cultural adjustment of international students in the U. S. A reevaluation: using reformulated learned helplessness. ERIC Document Reproduction Service
  37. (1993). Cultural awareness. doi
  38. (1986). Cultural differences in teaching and learning. doi
  39. (1991). Cultural influences on the facial expressions of emotion. doi
  40. (1999). Cultural mirror- materials and methods in the EFL classroom.
  41. (1966). Cultural thought patterns in intercultural education. doi
  42. (1998). Culturally mixed groups on international campuses- an opportunity for inter-cultural learning. doi
  43. (1993). Culture shock! doi
  44. (1999). Culture, context and writing.
  45. (2000). Developing a questionnaire. doi
  46. (1992). Developing cross-cultural competence. doi
  47. (2004). Doing research in the real world. doi
  48. (1991). Doing your research project. Milton Keynes.,
  49. (1965). Educational anthropology: an introduction. doi
  50. (1997). Effective language learning: positive strategies for advanced level language learning. doi
  51. (2005). Ethnic Chinese students' communication with cultural others in a New Zealand University. doi
  52. (1992). Ethnic, cultural, and language diversity in intervention settings.
  53. (2006). Ethnographic pedagogy and evaluation in short-term study abroad.
  54. (1995). Experiencing culture shock.
  55. (2001). Exploring community development in online settings. doi
  56. (1992). Families with Asian roots.
  57. (2006). Foreigners teaching foreigners: the enhancement of the international students' experience from an international point of view.
  58. (2005). Gathering cultural knowledge: useful or use with care.
  59. (2001). Geert HofstedeTM cultural dimensions.
  60. (1994). Higher education: the international student experience. A Heist publication
  61. (2001). Integrating computer-mediated tools into the language curriculum. doi
  62. (2006). Intercultural experience and the process of psychological adjustment., a case study of Japanese students in England.
  63. (2001). Intercultural learning: a few awareness tips for US and
  64. (2004). International education in Australian universities'. understandings, dimensions and problems. doi
  65. (2003). International students' perspectives on their cross-cultural adjustment to American higher education.
  66. (1984). Introduction to qualitative research methods: the search for meanings.
  67. (2003). Introduction to the philosophy of social research. London and
  68. (1964). Language and language learning: theory and practice. doi
  69. (1990). Language learning strategies: what every teacher should know. doi
  70. (2008). Language teaching. * the grammar translation method. (Online) (URL http: //articles. famouswhy. com/language_teaching_the_grammar_translatio n_method/).
  71. (2001). late updated 27-Jun-2006). The impact of international students on domestic students and host institutions,
  72. (1984). Learner language and language learning. doi
  73. (1990). Living Needs.
  74. (2003). Longitudinal qualitative research: analyzing change through time. California"
  75. (2001). Mama Lola., a vodou priestess in Brooklyn. doi
  76. (1994). Managing intercultural conflicts effectively.
  77. (1999). Managing international students.
  78. (1999). Market research'. a poor substitute for a scholarly investigation into international education issues in Britain.
  79. (1970). Motivation and personality. doi
  80. (1998). Motivational indicators in the United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China. doi
  81. (2006). Moving on from past mistakes to learning from a land 'down-under'.
  82. (2006). Multiple routes to cross-cultural adaptation for international students, mapping the paths between self-construals, English language confidence, and adjustment. doi
  83. (2001). Narrative analysis in ethnography. In: doi
  84. (1993). Narrative analysis. doi
  85. (1995). Narrative configuration in qualitative analysis. doi
  86. (1988). Narrative knowing and the human sciences. doi
  87. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. doi
  88. (2006). New horizons report of the UKCOSA survey: the experiences of international students in UK further education colleges.
  89. (2004). No way to treat a guest.
  90. (2003). On being 'bicultural' and 'intercultural'.
  91. (1972). On communicative competence. doi
  92. (1997). Overseas students in higher education: issues in teaching and learning. doi
  93. (1989). Overseas students: challenges of institutional adjustment.
  94. (1997). Overseas students' reaction to interculturality. a study of the experience of Omanl students in England. MA dissertation.
  95. (1980). Performance of overseas postgraduate students: a management teacher's view. In: The British Council, ed. 109-study modes and academic development of overseas students. London- The British Council,
  96. (2000). Psychology for language teachers: a social constructive approach.
  97. (1993). Qualitative data analysis: a user-friendly guide for social scientists. doi
  98. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook. doi
  99. (2002). Qualitative data analysis., explorations with NVivo, Buckingham-
  100. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. doi
  101. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five traditions. doi
  102. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education.
  103. (1992). Qualitative research for education: an introduction to theory and methods. Boston and London : Allyn and Bacon.
  104. (2002). Real world research: a resource for social scientists and practitioner-researchers. doi
  105. (1997). Religious education., an interpretive approach. LondonHodder and Stoughton.
  106. (1995). Research and the teacher' a qualitative introduction to school-based research. doi
  107. (2003). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. London - doi
  108. (1994). Research methods in education. doi
  109. (2003). Research methods in education. London: Routledge Falmer. doi
  110. (1980). Responses of overseas students to differing teaching styles.
  111. (1980). Rethinking case study: notes from the second Cambridge conference. doi
  112. (2000). Routledge encylopedia of language teaching and learning. doi
  113. (2000). Second lanquage leaming and language teaching. BeijingForeign Language Teaching andResearch
  114. (2005). Shocking culture: Chinese students' experiences of UK higher education.
  115. (2003). SLA research in the classroom/SLA research for the classroom. doi
  116. (2000). Social research methods: qualitative and quantitative approaches. Boston London : Allyn and Bacon.
  117. (2001). Socio-cultural awareness and cross-cultural first encounters.
  118. (1979). Sociolinguistic aspects of language leaming and teaching. doi
  119. (1982). Sojourner adjustment. doi
  120. (2002). Some features of the cultural and educational experience and expectations of international postgraduate students in the UK.
  121. (2004). storyCode=1901268&sectioncode =26). The Times Higher Education Supplement,
  122. (1996). Stress processes in British and overseas students,
  123. (2006). Students doing paid part time job 'miss campus life.
  124. (1991). Study and stress among first year overseas students in an Australian university. doi
  125. (2004). Studying in the United States: Chinese graduate students' experiences of academic adjustment.
  126. (2000). Teaching abroad: lessons learned about inter-cultural understanding for teachers in higher education. doi
  127. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Clevedon- Multilingual Matters Ltd.
  128. (1990). Teaching and learning.
  129. (2004). TEFL and communication styles in Japanese culture. doi
  130. (1980). Thai students studying. In: The British Council, ed. 109-study modes and academic development of overseas students. London- The British Council,
  131. (1986). The adaptation of foreign students- students views and institutional implications.
  132. (2006). The assistant experience in retrospect and its educational and professional significance in teachers' biographies.
  133. (1956). The child's conception of space. doi
  134. (2005). The Chinese and South East Asian leamer. - the transition to UK higher 305 education,
  135. (2001). The Cross-cultural adjustment of Taiwanese postgraduate students in England.
  136. (1985). The dimensions of expatriate acculturation. doi
  137. (1987). The expectations and experiences of a sojourning temporary resident abroad- a preliminary study. doi
  138. (2003). The experience of international students in UK higher education: a review of unpublished research preface: project report.
  139. (2006). The experience of International Students in UK higher education: a review of unpublished research preface.
  140. (1962). The foreign student, as stranger, learning the norms of the host-culture. doi
  141. (2000). The global dispersion of Chinese values: a threecountry study of Confucian dynamism.
  142. (1998). The good research guide for small-scale social research projects. doi
  143. (1989). The influence of the spouse on American expatriate adjustment in Pacific rim overseas assignments. doi
  144. (1996). The international student experience.
  145. (2004). The international student's study guide: studying in English at university. London. Thousand Oaks and SAGE.
  146. (2002). The learning experiences of Asian students on tourism and hospitality programmes in the United Kingdom. MSc dissertation.
  147. (2006). The one less travelled by... : the experience of Chinese students
  148. (1990). The prediction of psychological and sociocultural adjustment during cross-cultural transitions. doi
  149. (2006). The Prime Minister's initiative for international education: supporting your international students, speech given at the 3 rd Annual Conference of 'The international learner enhancing the student experience",
  150. (1956). The psychology of adjustment.
  151. (2001). The psychology of culture shock.
  152. (1992). The social and cultural dimensions to international study.
  153. (1983). The social creation of mental illness.
  154. (1990). The student-tutor relationship.
  155. (1991). The U-Curve adjustment hypothesis revisited: a review and theoretical framework. doi
  156. (1980). Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing. doi
  157. (2004). Theories of personality.
  158. (2006). Traditional and online support networks in the cross-cultural adaptation of Chinese international students in the United States. doi
  159. (1994). Transferring skills? The overseas student returns home.
  160. (1998). Transforming qualitative information: thematic analysis and code development London*
  161. (1987). Transitional stress, social support and psychological strain. doi
  162. (2006). Uncertainty avoidance and facework: a test of the Hofstede model. doi
  163. (1990). Understanding cultural differences. doi
  164. (2006). Using personal tutors to support learning for international students.
  165. (2003). What does it mean to be intercultural.
  166. (2005). What is personality.
  167. (1997). When east meets west: mainland Chinese students and scholars in UK higher education institutions.
  168. (1995). When practice doesn't make perfect* the case of a graduate ESL student.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.