An investigation into the academic acculturation experiences of Mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong

Lina VYAS*, Baohua YU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Over the past few decades, Mainland China has witnessed a massive outflow of students to higher education institutions in Hong Kong. In the context of an up-surge in Mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong, this research aims to explore (1) why Mainland Chinese students choose to study in Hong Kong over other higher education systems, (2) perceptions about the advantages and disadvantages of studying in Hong Kong, and (3) challenges in the process of acculturation from their homeland to Hong Kong. Five key themes are identified: education, finance, learning culture, language, and discrimination/labelling. While Mainland Chinese students often struggle to blend into the new environment, most gradually become accustomed to the local way of life. What remains a challenge is (perceived) discrimination following political tensions over the “one China, two systems” framework. This paper identifies the expectations and dissatisfactions of the participants with regard to studying in Hong Kong, ultimately offering higher-education administrators an insight into how to better cater for the expanding share of Mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong’s universities. This research is significant because it extends the literature by examining acculturation and cultural adaptation issues in an increasingly globalized context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-901
Number of pages19
JournalHigher Education
Issue number5
Early online date2 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic pressure
  • Campus discrimination
  • Cultural adaptation
  • Hong Kong education
  • Mainland Chinese students


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