Project Details

Toward a Multidimensional Model of Acculturation, Willingness to Communicate and Adaptation: A Longitudinal Examination on Mainland Students in Hong Kong Universities

The internationalisation of higher education in Hong Kong has been accompanied by the influx of international students over the past two decades. Pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees in Hong Kong presents unprecedented opportunities for personal development and challenges that are inherent in any cross-cultural educational experience; these challenges include (1) academic, acculturative and life stress, (2) lack of social support, (3) low identification with the host culture and (4) unwillingness to communicate with the local community. These challenges could become risk factors for psychological, academic and socio-cultural adjustment stress (e.g. Devos, 2003; Leder & Forgasz, 2004; Misra, Crist & Burant, 2003; Skyrme, 2007; Wang & Mallinckrodt, 2006) for international students. Therefore, the needs of international students in the cultural adaptation process should be identified and understood to ensure a smooth transition and the continuity and/or sustainability of such influx. This research uses a multi-method design that consists of three stages: (1) a qualitative study by means of focus group discussions to identify the major issues of acculturation, communication and adaptation faced by international students in Hong Kong in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes; (2) a large-scale longitudinal survey based on stage 1 for examining the causal relationships among constructs that emerged at stage 1 and (3) a qualitative study that involves personal interviews that would be used to triangulate the findings at stage 2. This study is distinctive because of its research focus, originality of research instrument and Asian context. Moreover, unlike most of the related studies, this study thoroughly investigates the relationships among the study variables over a reasonably long period of time in a mixed cultural context. The findings of this research can identify strategies that would enable the host institutions and students (international and local) to maximise the use of resources and human capital to create a culture of learning, to promote a working and living environment that is agreeable to everyone and to contribute to knowledge construction by developing a new model that is culturally interactive, responsive and enriching. Such model could assist Hong Kong universities to attract and effectively support a culturally diverse body of students.

Commencement Date : 2014/6
Completion Date : 2016/5
Chief Investigator(s) : Dr YU, Baohua 喻寶華 [ELE]
Keyword(s) : Acculturation Strategy   Psychological Adaptation   Socio-cultural Adaptation   Academic Adaptation   L2 Willingness to Communicate  

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