The Chaotic Academic Integration for Chinese International Students in Australia

Dennis Lam


There is a cultural distance between Australian and Chinese sociocultural practices, especially academic practices, which could be problematic for Chinese international students studying in Australia. This situation presents affective and cognitive challenges in transitioning from a familiar Chinese context to an unfamiliar Australian academic environment which is akin to academic “culture” shock. This paper will use a mixed methods approach, through the combination of two back-to-back studies, to explore issues Chinese students faced during the initial phases of their academic sojourn in Australia. Our findings suggest that a combination of language competency deficit coupled with unfamiliarity with academic practices had caused initial problems with Chinese international students’ academic adjustment in an Australian setting. This problem was exacerbated by poor intercultural awareness and empathy from Australian educators to adjust their teaching practices in such an intercultural dynamic.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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