Crosscultural transitions in a bilingual context: the interplays between bilingual, individual and interpersonal factors and adaptation

Baohua YU*, Lina VYAS, Ewan WRIGHT

*Corresponding author for this work

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

6 Citations (Scopus)


As a regional hub for education, Hong Kong has seen a growing population of international students. In contrast to existing conceptual models in acculturation literature that are typically devoted to studying long-term settlers such as migrants or refugees in English speaking countries, this study develops and tests a fine-grained model for degree-seeking mobile students in East Asia. A mixed-method study was conducted: a survey of 619 international students across six Hong Kong universities and focus group interviews with 22 Asian and nine non-Asian students. Bilingual competences were found to play significant roles in predicting sociocultural adaptation together with academic efficacy, social support, contact with locals, and psychological adaptation. This study offers practical and managerial insights for educational policymakers, university senior management and administrations, academicians, and research communities on how to manage the expansion and accommodate the needs of international students so that we can cater for a culturally diverse body of students. This research is significant because it extends the literature by examining sociocultural adjustment during crosscultural transitions in the increasingly globalised context of Hong Kong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)600-619
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number7
Early online date4 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The authors would like to thank Professor Bob Adamson for his constructive suggestions on drafting this manuscript and Professor Peter Bodycott, Professor Anita Mak and Professor Anne Porter for their great contributions to this research project.

This study is supported by General Research Fund (Project number: 840313) funded by -University Grants Committee (UGC) of Hong Kong.


  • academic self-efficacy
  • Bilingual competences
  • contact with local students
  • discrimination
  • psychological adaptation
  • social support
  • sociocultural adaptation and international students


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