We Are Not All the Same
A Qualitative Analysis of the Nuanced Differences Between Chinese and South Korean International Graduate Students’ Experiences in the United States
This qualitative study explored the experiences of six Chinese and South Korean graduate students in the United States. Semistructured interviews and an interpretive phenomenological approach were used in which three major themes emerged: (a) academic challenges and acculturation, (b) academic support from host institute, and (c) cultural and pedagogical nuances. Challenges included language barriers during lectures, discussions and writing assignments, and lack of support services for international students. One significant finding was Chinese and South Korean students do not have the same graduate experiences in the United States. Participants shared how their prior homeland learning experiences (course delivery, relationships with instructors and assessments) impacted their learning, relationships, and academic challenges in the United States.
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