Employment and Academic and Social Integration: The Experiences of Overseas Chinese Students and Scholars


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The number of Chinese students studying abroad keeps increasing. A total of 622,100 Chinese students studied at universities abroad in 2018 (Textor 2020). There is growing interest in studying these international students from a variety of perspectives, including the economic benefits to host countries, educational mobility (Cheng 2021), intercultural communication (Yu and Moskal 2019), academic and social adaptation (Gu 2016), and curriculum internationalization (Cheng et al. 2018). The experiences of Chinese students returning “home” have also attracted attention with a focus on identity changes (Wang 2020) and life and work in China (Gill 2010).

This Special Issue aims to discuss new research and trends in the academic and social experiences of international Chinese students and scholars, and provide a forum for investigating and reporting on the social and cultural challenges they have experienced abroad. The five papers in this collection draw on empirical research and address five key aspects of international higher education, primarily in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia, as well as the experiences of graduates back in China after international study. These aspects are critical thinking skills, health and well-being, employment, international career development, and academic and social integration. The authors of these contributions consider effects on Chinese students and scholars at both the level of policies and practicalities.

These aspects matter because they affect the lived experiences of individual students, as the papers in this issue demonstrate. For instance, critical thinking is a compulsory graduate attribute expected of all students at universities in the United Kingdom, but these skills are not always effectively imparted to Chinese students. Concerns for well-being are now more openly discussed at universities, but the health of international students is rarely addressed. Increasing the employability of graduates is high on the agenda for many higher education providers and policymakers, and employment experience abroad is vitally important for many graduates’ careers, but the actual experiences of Chinese students studying abroad has hardly been considered. Traditionally, international career development has been a key motivator for Chinese students to study abroad, but China has recently instituted national policies intended to retain or regain its academic talents that acquire international experience. Finally, many international students continue to face difficulties in integrating both academically and socially. A better understanding of these five themes would improve the abilities of Western universities to attract, retain, and support Chinese students and scholars as well as lead to general improvements of internationalization in higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-94
Number of pages4
JournalChinese Education and Society
Issue number3-4
Early online date28 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2021


  • employment
  • Chinese students


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