Double transitions of Chinese students in the ‘2 + 2’ articulation program under the influence of field coupling and social capital

Xiaojun Zhang*, Yang Hang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the ‘2 + 2’ articulation program, Chinese students encounter many challenges in academic study and sociocultural life. There is debate regarding their intercultural transition experiences–whether they undergo acculturation, adhering to the home/original culture or adapting to the host/new culture, or remain in between the home/original and host/new culture in a ‘third space’? Existing research refers to numerous institutional and individual factors that influence students’ intercultural transition experiences. However, investigations are lacking regarding the cross-field effect triggered by field coupling and students’ three types of social capital: bonding, bridging, and linking. This study considers eight Chinese student participants who studied at a Sino-foreign cooperative university (SFCU) in China for the first two years and then transitioned to its partner university in the UK for the following two years. The findings showed that they experienced academic acculturation over time (from year one to three) and sociocultural in-betweenness across space (from the SFCU to the British partner university). The tight academic coupling and loose sociocultural coupling between the two educational fields, as well as students’ bonding, bridging, and linking social capital, led to disparate experiences in these double transitions. This study provides suggestions for higher education institutions to strengthen coupling and improve ‘2 + 2’ articulation programs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Higher Education
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Articulation program
  • Chinese student
  • acculturation
  • field coupling
  • in-betweenness
  • social capital

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