Communication Essay

5311 words - 22 pages

The Challenges of Cross-cultural Adjustment: A Study of Secondary Chinese Students in South Australia (Homestay Situation) Chong Zhou, Guiyun Chen

Abstract

In this study, the researcher intends to make some contributions to the research literature regarding the analysis of secondary students’ cross-cultural adjustment through investigating a group of Mainland Chinese students’ experiences in secondary schools in South Australia. The study explores the perceptions of Chinese students in a more naturalistic way through conversations with them in their own language. It focuses on the cultural challenges faced by these Chinese students and provides some insider’s knowledge about the ...view middle of the document...

Thus, learning to live and work in a new cultural setting is a challenging experience, which incorporates psychological and sociocultural adjustment (Searle & Ward, 1990; Berry, 1997). Psychological adjustment focuses on “feelings of wellbeing or satisfaction” during cross-cultural transitions, and sociocultural adjustment “refers to the ability to ‘fit in’ or execute effective interactions in a new cultural milieu” (Ward, 2001, p.414). Psychological and sociocultural adjustments are thought to be related to each other (Ward & Kennedy, 1996). Successful adjustment is a state of “homeostasis” in which a match between environment and individual is achieved through a pattern that juxtaposes integration and disintegration progression and regression, novelty and confirmation, and creativity and depression (Kirschner, 1994). This state is marked by a psychological balance and by effective functioning of the individual. In the study, the researcher intends to investigate from an insider’s perspective a group of Mainland Chinese students’ cross-cultural experiences in secondary schools of South Australia. The study focuses on the unique cultural challenges faced by these Chinese students in the process of adjusting to living and learning in Australian culture. The aim is to develop further understanding / knowledge about the cultural challenges faced by secondary school Chinese students studying in South Australia. The central question to be addressed is: “what are the mainland Chinese students’ perceptions of living and learning in South Australia.” Under the central question, three specific questions will be answered: (1) what are the challenges faced by Chinese students while they are studying at educational institutions of South Australia? (2) What are the underlying norms and values that cause these challenges to Chinese students learning at educational institutions of South Australia? (3) What strategies do Chinese students use to cope with their challenges in the process of adjusting to Australian culture while studying at educational institutions of South Australia? For the purpose of tracking down the answers to these questions, the qualitative method is chosen because of its ability to avoid pushing the subject into the selection of pre-determined categories. Rather, the study will explore the perceptions of Chinese students in a more naturalistic way through conversations with them in their own language. Altogether 36 Mainland Chinese students were chosen from three different government schools and one non-government school in South Australia. Data was collected via focus group and individual interviews during the two periods in 2002 and 2003. In the first round of data collection, unstructured interviews were conducted, using focus groups as the research instrument, which served as exploration of the areas of potential challenges faced by Chinese students. Based on the results of the first data collection, the individual interviews were semi...

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