Document Type: Conference Papers
Conference: Hong Kong Educational Research Association (HKERA) International Conference 2018: Equity, Access, and Diversity in Education: Theory, Practice, and Research (2018: The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
This paper explores the influence of friendship in mainland Chinese (MC) students’ adaptation to studying in Hong Kong. The number of MC students in Hong Kong has amounted to 18,887 in 2016, which makes it necessary for universities to cater for these students’ adaptation. Research has identified social-cultural differences between MC students and their local peers despite shared traditional Chinese cultural root. Existing studies have shown that international students can adapt to the new culture better and be more confident by making cross-cultural friends. Previous research has mainly focused on MC students’ difficulties in their adaptation, but how friendship influences their adaptation is still under-researched. This paper addresses the research questions: (1) What strategies do mainland students adopt to establish friendships during their study in Hong Kong? (2) What are the facilitating and hindering factors for mainland students to establish friendship? (3) How can friendship help mainland students adapt to their study and life in Hong Kong? A total of 24 MC university students studying in Hong Kong were interviewed. Thematic analysis was employed for data analysis. The findings show that friendship plays an important role in MC students’ adaptation to studying in Hong Kong, especially regarding daily life routines, such as how to deal with visa issues and navigate the university’s course selection system. MC students build friendships mainly through taking part in social and academic learning activities. Nonetheless, political-social conflicts between Hong Kong and Mainland China have, to a certain extent, hindered friendship establishment between MC and local students. Copyright © 2018 HKERA International Conference.