The intercultural experience of a group of Chinese international students in the UK

Lin Zheng, Will Baker

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This paper aims to investigate a group of Chinese students’ intercultural encounters studying in two articulation programmes in one British university and analyses the barriers that seem to exist between them, home and other international students. This research is qualitative in nature. Thematic analysis of sixteen Chinese students’ interviews and reflective narratives were adopted. A core finding is that the power of the ‘Chinese circle’ provides this group with a comfortable zone but also presents a barrier to engaging in intercultural communication and developing more intercultural identities. Contributing factors to this pull of the Chinese circle include changing attitudes to English and Chinese language, negative intercultural experiences, and a lack of awareness of intercultural identity. It is suggested that universities should diversify their international recruitment, enhance intercultural education and training provided for all international students before and during their studies abroad.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-141
Number of pages18
JournalInsights into Language, Culture and Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2022


  • Chinese circle
  • Chinese students
  • intercultural experiences
  • English learning
  • intercultural communication
  • intercultural identity

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