Cultural Adaptation as a Sense-Making Experience: International Students in China

  • Shiao-Yun ChiangEmail author


China has recently become one of the world’s largest receiving countries of international students. While China has practiced its open-door policy for the past 30 years, its sociocultural structure and practices may still be mostly unfathomable to the rest of the world. The goal of the present research is to find how international students perceive and identify with the Chinese sociocultural structure. Drawing upon a group of international students’ self-reports in China, this article examines what dimensions of the Chinese sociocultural structure international students may most (or least) likely identify with. In contrast to most existing studies on culture learning and intercultural adaptation, this article demonstrates that international students’ cultural adaptation is a subjective, sense-making, and culture-specific experience in China.


International students in China Chinese sociocultural practice Culture learning Cultural adaptation 



The author wishes to offer his heartfelt thanks to the two anonymous referees for their timely, constructive feedback. This research is partially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41371161).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationState University of New YorkOneontaUSA

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