Common Topic, Similar Hope: Positioning of Chinese International Students Abroad

Jessica Fox


As the number of Chinese international students at higher education institutions continues to grow, relevant research on this topic is increasingly vital. A number of studies expose academic and social challenges impeding this population’s adjustment to university landscapes in Canada and the United Kingdom, yet few shed light on positive strategies used to successfully navigate students’ sojourns abroad, particularly in the United States. This case study provides an in-depth, detailed account of a Chinese international student’s first year at a large American university. Data collected from regular interviews, classroom observations, and instructor insights are analyzed through the lens of the Positioning theory to explore how a student strategically positions himself on the path toward realizing his goals and imagined community. Implications of this study advocate for a multifaceted, reflective approach to study abroad by students, faculty, and administrators.

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