Chinese International Students' Decision-Making Perspectives: A Case Study

by David Stewart

Institution: Drexel University
Year: 2017
Keywords: Education; Chinese students Foreign countries; Foreign study; Decision making
Posted: 02/01/2018
Record ID: 2195992
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/idea:7264


Unprecedented rapidity of change occurring throughout the higher education sector linked to student mobility driven globalization momentum reinforces the benefits of attracting and cultivating the strongest students to contribute diversity of thought to learning environments. The purpose of this case study was to explore multiple perspectives of contemporary Chinese study abroad participants' decision-making experiences, seeking to understand the unique Confucian Heritage Culture (CHC) dynamics impacting Chinese study abroad education decision-making processes and outcomes. The study focused on Drexel University's LeBow College of Business Master's in Finance Program alumni that had graduated between 2012 and 2016 to explore their unique, multifaceted, and primarily inclusive decision to study in US. This study supplements the mass of quantitative survey-based data with a qualitative compilation of a limited number of contemporary CSSA participant voices to support a more holistic understanding of their personal CSSA education decision-making journeys. Nineteen individuals, all alumni from the Master's in Finance Program were interviewed to gain rich, descriptive insights into their study abroad decision-making experiences. Along with nineteen interviews, observations and artifacts were used and a synthesis of analysis led to four thematic study findings relating to the participant's decision-making journey in regards to: (a) processes; (b) opportunities and aspirations; (c) challenges overcome; and (d) personal transitions during and after their study abroad decision-making process that reflected a decision-making journey cycle from idea inception to post-decision outcomes. The study conclusions included: (a) Contemporary CSSA decision-making experiences reflected aspects of unique Confucian Heritage Culture (CHC) norms and dynamics; (b) No single decision-making process was adopted for study abroad decision-making, rather three general paths emerged; (c) Five elements were indicated as key motivators for seeking the study abroad experience; (d) Social media played a significant and positive role in CSSA pre-study abroad decision-making processes, during study abroad, and in participant transitions home to China. The recommendations tendered based on study data and literature included: (a) future Chinese study abroad candidates proactively communicate their individual aspirations with his or her decision-making group and balance personal resources and emotions throughout the decision-making process, (b) individuals and institutions recognize and value of cultural and thought diversity while embracing emerging commonalities possibly induced by globalization trends; (c) all stakeholders recognize the power of social media technology to engage throughout the learning experience; and finally (d) reinforce the benefits of further research on decision-making journey perspectives among the world's current largest population of study abroad participants. Key words: Chinese Students Studying Abroad (CSSA), decisionAdvisors/Committee Members: Geller, Kathy Dee, School of Education.