Understanding Chinese International Doctoral Students in NewZealand: A Literature Review of Contemporary Writings about Chinese Overseas Research Students

Qun Ding


The number of Chinese students studying abroad has increased. Chinese international students have constituted the largest proportion of overseas students in New Zealand (Zhang, 2013). Less research has been done concerning those undertaking doctoral study. The study I have proposed to do thus intends to explore the experiences of Chinese doctoral students studying full-time at New Zealand universities. In this article, a review of literature on Chinese international research student experience, in terms of their motives for studying abroad and university lives, is undertaken to attempt to provide the basis for this intended research. While much literature has emphasised the influence of learning contexts on their motives for studying abroad, this study will examine how their gender, family life and previous experiences influence their motivation, and how they pave the way for their overseas studies. Much research on the intercultural learning experience has adopted an adaptation perspective and been more focused on their negative experiences, thus strengthening their usual stereotype of students with learning and social deficits. In contrast, using a self-formation paradigm, this study will perceive them as active agents and spotlights how they deal with challenges and difficulties and how they develop themselves in the process.


Higher education; Chinese overseas doctoral students; student agency; motivation and supervision

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The New Zealand Journal of Teachers' work is supported by AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand.