Given the critical dynamics between students’ national identity and study abroad experiences, this study explores the meanings Chinese international students in the US make of national identity within the context of China’s rise on the world stage. Drawing on qualitative interviews with 23 Chinese undergraduate students studying at a US research public university, this study demonstrated how cultural values, patriotic education received in China, and experiences in the US influenced students’ understandings of national identity. Students’ identities of being Chinese were renegotiated resulting from meaningful intercultural interactions. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that Chinese international students lost their national identity abroad, findings documented a heightened sense of national identity and increased patriotism among Chinese intentional students. The case of Chinese international undergraduate students adds to the existing literature on the impact of study abroad on identity development and extends the use of neo-nationalism in higher education research.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study is funded by the Graduate Student Research Grant, Department of Educational Studies, The Ohio State University. This study is funded by the Graduate Student Research Grant, Department of Educational Studies, The Ohio State University. The author would like to thank Professor Marc Johnston-Guerrero at the Ohio State University for constructive feedbacks on earlier versions of this article.
© 2019 Society for Research into Higher Education.
- Chinese international students
- National identity
- study abroad