Transitioning from a Chinese education to an Australia education: a study of foundation studies program students from China
AuthorTeo, Ian Wei Yuan
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusThis item is currently not available from this repository
© 2015 Dr. Ian Wei Yuan Teo
This study was motivated by the growth of the Australian international education sector, increasing numbers of mainland Chinese students studying in Australian universities, and a lack of research relating to the Foundation Studies Programs (FSP) in which some Chinese students enrolled. In seeking to contribute to this gap in the FSP literature, this study investigated how a cohort of ex-FSP students from mainland China reflected on their transition through various stages of their education. Specifically, the main research question guiding this study asked, 'To what extent do Chinese students' higher education experiences align with their expectations as they transition from secondary schooling in China through to university in Australia?'. To address this question a mixed-methods design was utilised. This consisted of surveys being administered to Chinese and non-Chinese nationals within one FSP at entry and exit from the course, and subsequent semi-structured interviews with a cohort of these Chinese students who were now studying at university. Interview data comprised the bulk of this study's analysis, and revealed that Chinese students' expectations and experiences of education did not remain fixed as they transitioned between schooling contexts in China and Australia. The most salient feature of their transition experiences was the increased importance they placed on the social dimension seen to enhance their educational experiences. That is, where once these students viewed their entry into the FSP and gaining Australian higher education qualifications instrumentally, they later adjusted this view to include also the importance of developing and maintaining social relationships within educational contexts. This study's findings highlight the importance of social relationships across various schooling contexts, and challenge the assumption that FSPs ease international students' social transition into university.
Keywordsfoundation studies programs; pathways programs; higher education; Chinese students; China; students from China; international students; Australia
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