Supporting (Chinese) international students’ academic and social needs in socioculturally-attuned ways


  • Tang Tang Heng National Institute of Education--Singapore


Higher education institutions worldwide have come under scrutiny for not doing enough to understand and support international students. International students are typically expected to shoulder the burden of adjusting, with host culture used as a yardstick against which to measure their success. Using Chinese internationals in the U.S. as a case study and leveraging a sociocultural lens to analyze reasons for their challenges, this article breaks away from a deficit perspective with a goal towards gaining deeper and more asset-based understanding of internationals. Participants cited values—such as authority in hierarchy, community over individual, face—that are shaped by history, culture, politics, demographics, and schooling as reasons for their challenges in the U.S. Using insights from the findings, I explore implications for how we can leverage sociocultural ways of engaging with internationals through academic, campus, and professional support.

Keywords: socio-cultural, culturally inclusive, international students, Chinese, asset-based, engagement


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