Supporting the career decisions of Australian-based international Chinese doctoral students

  • Myra C. Y. Lee
  • Mary McMahon
  • Mark Watson


Research regarding the support of career decision-making for international Chinese doctoral research students has been scarce and has assumed the homogeneity of international students. Offering insights to career practitioners, this article investigates the support for career decision-making experienced by international Chinese doctoral research students based in Australia from pre-sojourn up to their preparation for graduation. Arising from a thematic analysis of interviews with ten PhD students across three Australian universities, the findings reveal a desire for learning and career advancement that transcends national borders, underpinned by support that reinforces self-reliance and the formation of virtual and real-life social networks.


Chinese doctoral students Career support Career transitions 


Soutien à la prise de décisions professionnelles auprès de doctorants chinois en Australie Peu d’études ont été menées sur le soutien aux étudiants internationaux dans la prise de décisions de carrière, et aucune ne s’est intéressée spécifiquement aux doctorants chinois. Cet article étudie le soutien à la prise de décision professionnelle de 10 doctorants chinois dans trois universités australiennes, du pré-séjour à la préparation à l’obtention du diplôme. Les résultats d’une analyse thématique révèlent un désir d’apprentissage et de promotion qui transcende les frontières nationales, étayé par un soutien qui renforce l’autonomie et la formation de réseaux sociaux virtuels et réels. Ces résultats permettent des applications pratiques aux professionnels de la carrière.


Unterstützung bei Karriereentscheidungen von in Australien wohnhaften internationalen chinesischen Doktoranden Forschung zu Berufswahlentscheidungen von internationalen chinesischen Doktoranden gibt es nur wenig, auch wurde diese meist aus der Einheit internationaler Studierender übernommen. Der vorliegende Artikel untersucht die Unterstützung von Karriereentscheidungen von der Vorbereitung des Aufenthalts bis zum Abschluss des Studiums wie sie von internationalen chinesischen Doktorierenden, die in Australien wohnhaft sind, erlebt wird und gibt dabei Einblicke in die Karriere von Praktikern. Basierend auf einer thematischen Analyse aus Interviews mit 10 Doktoranden von 3 australischen Universitäten, zeigen die Ergebnisse den Wunsch auf, zu lernen und beruflich über nationale Grenzen hinaus weiterzukommen, gestützt auf einen Support, der Eigenständigkeit sowie virtuelle und reale Netzwerke stärkt.


El apoyo a las decisiones de carrera de los estudiantes chinos que cursan doctorados internacionales con sede en Australia La investigación sobre el apoyo a la toma de decisiones de carrera para los estudiantes chinos de doctorados internacionales ha sido escasa y ha asumido la homogeneidad de los estudiantes internacionales. Este artículo, que ofrece información para los profesionales de la orientanción (career practitioners), investiga el apoyo a la toma de decisiones en la carrera del que gozan los estudiantes chinos de doctorados internacionales con sede en Australia, desde la etapa previa a sus estudios hasta la preparación para su graduación. A partir de un análisis temático de entrevistas a 10 estudiantes de doctorado en tres universidades australianas, los hallazgos revelan un deseo de aprendizaje y perfeccionamiento profesional que trasciende las fronteras nacionales, respaldado por un apoyo que refuerza la autosuficiencia y la creación de redes de contactos sociales, tanto virtuales como en la vida real.



The authors would like to recognise and thank Professor Martin Mills at The University of Queensland for his invaluable insights and contribution to advising the doctoral thesis.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationThe University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationThe University of QueenslandBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyNelson Mandela UniversityPort ElizabethSouth Africa

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