Church participation as intercultural encounter in the experiences of Chinese international students in the UK

Yu, Yun (2017) Church participation as intercultural encounter in the experiences of Chinese international students in the UK. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This study is a mixed-method analysis of church participation as a direct intercultural encounter in the experiences of non-Christian Chinese international students in the UK. Its setting in a religious context makes the whole research unique among research on the topic of international students’ cross-cultural experience. The study aims to address the overarching research question: What is the role of Christian churches in the intercultural experiences of Chinese international students in the UK? There are five sub-questions further developed from both student and church perspectives to comprehensively explore the main issue: 1) Why do non-Christian Chinese students choose to go to churches after they arrive in the UK? 2) Do Christian churches serve as a medium of intercultural encounter for Chinese international students? 3) What is the institutional motivation of the Christian community for attracting international students, especially Chinese students? 4) What are the Christian churches’ strategies in working with Chinese international students? 5) What is more important for students, religious or intercultural experience? The study employs survey, semi-structured in-depth interviews, participant observation, and document analysis as research methods to provide an analysis on international students’ church experiences. In the context of the non-Christian Chinese students’ international mobility and Christianity in China and UK, it investigates the intentions behind and purposes of the intercultural engagement between churches and students. What underpins the interaction between Chinese students and the international Christian community is the interplay between educational, religious, socio-cultural, and psychological factors. The study also presents the western culture, Christianity, as well as the cultural/religious background of Chinese students, and highlights Christian ambitions and missionary strategies (working model) towards non-Christian international students. The findings indicate that social connections with the host environment and the nature of organisation play a significant role in the cross-cultural adaptation and individual development of international students. Besides offering an explanation for the mechanism behind the students’ church participation, the findings also demonstrate that it is Christian churches, rather than universities in the experience of Chinese international students in the UK to facilitate intercultural encounters. The study recommends that universities be encouraged to undertake relevant interventions to facilitate meaningful intercultural engagement among students in the multicultural campus environment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Chinese international students, Christian churches, intercultural engagement and interaction, international higher education.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Funder's Name: Chinese Scholarship Council
Supervisor's Name: Furlong, Professor Andy and Moskal, Dr. Marta and Doyle, Dr. Lesley
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Dr Yun Yu
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8606
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2017 10:27
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2017 11:32
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/8606

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