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Perceptions of Chinese top-up students transitioning through a regional UK university: a longitudinal study using portrait methodology

O'Dea, Xianghan (Christine) ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1533-1067 (2020) Perceptions of Chinese top-up students transitioning through a regional UK university: a longitudinal study using portrait methodology. Doctoral thesis, University of Hull.

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This thesis seeks to gain a good understanding of the academic and social experiences of a group of Chinese top-up students when they are studying their
top-up programme in a UK institution. It adopts the U curve model and Bottery’s variation of portrait methodology as the theoretical foundations. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, which took place three times at
the key transition stages of these students during their one-year study period, namely the moving in stage (pre-departure and post arrival), the moving
through stage (the start of their top-up programme to the end of the first semester) and the moving out stage (the start of the second semester to the end of their top-up programme). After each interview, written portraits were
produced for the participants based on their interview transcripts.

The findings of this thesis suggest that firstly this group of Chinese top-up students seemed to have had a really difficult time during their journey in this
UK institution. It appears that their perceptions and some aspects of their behaviour (academic) changed while they went through this one-year study abroad journey, however, other aspects of their behaviour (social) appeared to
remain largely the same. Additionally, the transition experiences of most Chinese top-up students in this group seemed to have only partially followed the U curve model. In other words, they experienced the honeymoon, the crisis
and the recovery stages, but not the readjustment stage.
This study makes a contribution to both the U curve and the portrait methodology literature by showing that when studying the transitional experiences of international students, attention needs to be paid to the factors
at the institutional and national levels, apart from those at the personal level.
In addition, the findings demonstrate that portrait methodology may produce very different insights when it is applied to different groups of people.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Status: Published
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe)
School/Department: York Business School
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5548

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