Search ETDs:
Between the Cultural Push and Cultural Pull: An Exploration of Chinese International Students' Self-Concept
Song, Lei

2014, Doctor of Philosophy, Miami University, Educational Leadership.
The purpose of this study is to investigate perceived changes in self-concept among Chinese international students in the United States. Because a huge cultural distance exists between China and the U.S.in terms of schooling systems, higher education traditions, and practices, Chinese international students need both linguistic and cultural capacity to succeed in their overseas pursuits. This study draws from three bodies of literature -- acculturation psychology, cross-cultural communication, and social cognition theories -- to explore Chinese international students' changed self-concept in their adaptive learning experiences.

Using a grounded theory methodology, I interviewed seventeen participants who had been studying in the U.S. for at least one year at the time of investigation. Through a thematic analysis of the interviews, I found participants experienced self-concept changes in multiple contexts, such as academics, peer relationships, and other cross-cultural interactions, including internship, leadership, and spirituality programs. Findings indicated participants' construction of self-concept shifted towards individualistic cultural traits, and these adaptive self changes towards individualism helped them survive and succeed in the U.S. However, such changes may create tension in some participants' relationships with their collectivist home context.

Based on participants' perceived changes in multiple aspects of self-concept, I further analyzed individual characteristics that influenced structure and content changes of self-concept, such as motivation and personality traits. I also analyzed cross-cultural contextual factors that might shape those personal changes, which would be unlikely to occur without the participants' geographical move. Integrating analyses about individual characteristics and contextual influences, I suggested possible directions for future research on cross-cultural adaptation and student development. Also, based on the contextual analysis, I suggested practical implications for U.S. educators in advising Chinese international students, designing transitional and assistance programs, and creating an integrative campus culture for all students.

Finally, as a constructivist researcher and a human instrument, I inevitably brought in my own perspective to the study. In both a prologue and epilogue, I elaborated my story as a student and researcher, and my evolving relationship with this theoretical product as well.
Elisa Abes, S. (Committee Chair)
Rogers Judith, L. (Committee Member)
Rousmaniere Kate (Committee Member)
Mosley-Howard Susan (Committee Member)
214 p.

Recommended Citations

Hide/Show APA Citation

Song, L. (2014). Between the Cultural Push and Cultural Pull: An Exploration of Chinese International Students' Self-Concept. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

Hide/Show MLA Citation

Song, Lei. "Between the Cultural Push and Cultural Pull: An Exploration of Chinese International Students' Self-Concept." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2014. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 15 Dec 2017.

Hide/Show Chicago Citation

Song, Lei "Between the Cultural Push and Cultural Pull: An Exploration of Chinese International Students' Self-Concept." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Miami University, 2014. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

Files

Dissertation_Lei Song_04162014.pdf (1.9 MB) View|Download