Lived experiences of six Chinese graduate students in North America
Gao, Yuesheng (Angela)
Master of Education
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This phenomenological study of six Chinese graduate students coming from mainland China, explored their lived experiences in North America. From the qualitative data analysis, five themes emerged: (a) the experiences of the Chinese graduate students with language; (b) the Chinese graduate students’ academic concerns; (c) the experiences of the Chinese graduate students with cultural differences; (d) the job related experiences of the Chinese graduate students in North America; (e) the advantages of a North American education for China. The study has provided some factors that influenced these six Chinese graduate students who came to North America to study and explored their reactions to the educational system in North America. It has also highlighted aspects of education in North America that can be used or adapted to a Chinese setting. Further, the study has shown that there are many things that one can learn from the lived experiences of these students from mainland China. The Chinese graduate students, based on their working experiences in North America, reported no big gender differences in finding decent jobs. The study found no big differences between science and non-science majors Chinese graduate students when studying or working in North America. The study has provided some suggestions for future research in the area of students’ experience with language in North America, their motivation for selecting majors and finding jobs in North America whether based on their research interests or not, and the adaptability of these students to American society. It also suggested that how culture affects working relationships in China and in North America and how Chinese graduate students celebrate American holidays after they arrive in North America would be worthy subjects for further investigation.