Chinese International Students’ First-year Learning and Teaching Perceptions at the University of Gävle, Sweden
2013 (English)Report (Other academic)
Given the accelerating growth in the international student market, Chinese international students are increasingly becoming an important feature of higher education in many countries worldwide. The number of students attending Swedish universities although small compared to more traditional country destinations has, up to recent times, continued to increase. For Swedish universities not so accustomed to teaching and supporting the Chinese students, the challenge is considerable.
This study explores the learning experiences of Chinese undergraduate students during their first year at the University of Gävle (Sweden). All of the students were young (most 17 to 19) and came from areas of China with strong Confucian heritage cultures. The study draws on previous research and a questionnaire to examine the students’ success in the classroom, how their attitudes to learning evolved, and how they adapted to Swedish culture. The study also discusses students’ opinions as to the academic and support services that have been or could be provided. The questionnaire developed for the study includes ideas and contributions from a United Kingdom university. An Interview Guide was also prepared to facilitate the study and to frame possible follow-up questions to participants.
The study reveals that the students experienced a wide variety of difficulties. Lack of English language proficiency, communication difficulties, periods of isolation and loneliness together with a lack of social activities all featured significantly. Other areas highlighted included difficulties with academic writing, poor study skills awareness, and difficulties with making friends. On a more positive note, the students showed interest in and an ability to adjust, adapt and gain from a totally different style of teaching and learning. In terms of the implications for the University, these findings suggest that attention should be given in finding ways to improve the overall quality of student learning, teaching and support provided not only for Chinese students but for all international students. In this light, a series of recommendations are presented.
Recommendations of note are to undertake a longitudinal study and offer an international foundation year programme with English language support services.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gävle: University of Gävle , 2013. , 84 p.
Chinese international students, culture, higher education, learning perceptions, support services
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-16439OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-16439DiVA: diva2:706675