1st Edition

Chinese Students and the Experience of International Doctoral Study in STEM Using a Multi-World Model to Understand Challenges and Success

By Yibo Yang, Judith MacCallum Copyright 2023
    256 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    This volume examines the diversified and challenging experiences of Chinese international STEM doctoral students at Australian institutes of higher education, exploring how intersections between research, personal life, and social experiences can be negotiated to achieve academic success and personal transformation.

    By drawing on a range of qualitative and longitudinal research methods, the book foregrounds student narratives and utilizes a novel three-dimensional multi-world framework as an effective approach for understanding student experiences in a holistic way. It integrates Chinese philosophical perspectives and theories in the fields of educational psychology, international education, and doctoral education to interpret the nuances, complexity, and particularities of the cross-cultural STEM PhD experience, highlighting the importance of the supervisor–mentee relationship and the role of students’ cultural, social, and philosophical values in supporting their successful completion of the PhD degree. The analysis thus provides new insights into the ways in which these experiences vary across students, and might apply in other national contexts, and to non-STEM student cohorts.

    This book will be a valuable resource for researchers and academics engaged in cross-cultural education, the sociology of education, and international and comparative education. It will be of particular interest to those with a focus on international doctoral education and cultural Asian studies.

    Introduction Part 1: The empirical and theoretical landscape 1. The Chinese students and their philosophical values 2. Doing a STEM PhD abroad 3. The conceptual framework & the project Part 2: Congruence/difference and transitions across worlds 4. Congruence matters: Congruent worlds & Smooth transitions 5. Reciprocal respect matters: Different worlds & Smooth transitions 6. Agency matters: Congruent worlds & Border crossings managed 7. Putting conflicts under control: Different worlds & Border crossings managed 8. When it’s really difficult: Different worlds & Border crossings difficult or resisted Part 3: Enhancing cross-cultural PhD education: For a shared future 9. Agentic communication to co-construct success into the future 10. From understanding to a shared future Coda


    Yibo Yang is Associate Professor of International Studies at the Harbin Institute of Technology, China.

    Judith MacCallum is Professor Emerita of Education at Murdoch University, Australia.

    "Yang and MacCallum comprehensive book offers an important and necessary collection on the retention and completion of Chinese doctoral students overseas. Using a three-dimensional, multi-world framework, this book addresses the cognitive, developmental, and social factors that affect the study abroad experiences of Chinese international doctoral students in STEM. The book is a must-have for both teacher-scholars and advanced practitioners who advise, mentor, or coach Chinese students in graduate education. ”
    Roy Y. Chan, PhD., Assistant Professor of Education & Ed.D. Program Director, Lee University, USA; Chair, CIES Study Abroad and International Students (SAIS) SIG; Co-editor, Impacts of COVID-19 on International Students and the Future of Student Mobility (Routledge, 2022)
    "I commend Dr. Yibo Yang and Dr. Judith MacCallum for documenting the experience of doctoral students in STEM, adding to the tapestry of international higher education. As these students intermingle with society and toil in their labs to find solutions to complex problems facing us, their stories will enlighten in our endeavors to grow more ambassadors of world peace."
    Uttam Gaulee, PhD., Professor of Higher Educaiton and Admistration and Policy, Morgan State University, USA

    "In this immaculately written book, the authors make a timely contribution to advancing longitudinal research into the academic trajectories and lived experiences of doctoral international students in STEM. The ‘multi-world’ perspective from which the research questions are addressed allows for a much more detailed and comprehensive understanding of students’ experiences. Highly recommended and worth a read!"
    Leonardo Veliz, Head of School of Education, Excelsia College, Sydney, Australia

    "This important book addresses a gap in individual narratives in internationalisation discourses by highlighting the multidimensional experiences of Chinese international STEM doctoral students within Australia as the study context. Another important contribution lies in its exploration of the multicultural situatedness of doctoral supervision, which is a crucial, albeit less studied aspect of the international doctoral students’ experience."
    Omolabake (Labake) Fakunle, PhD., Chancellor's Fellow,  University of Edinburgh, UK
    “Chinese Students and the Experience of International Doctoral Study in STEM” is a highly recommended resource for Chinese post-graduate students who wish to study STEM abroad. This book highlights the challenges that PhD students experience, and the appropriate strategies required for them to cope with their research, as well as their personal and social worlds throughout their PhD journey."
    Misty So-Sum Wai-COOK, PhD., Centre for English Language Studies, National University of Singapore, Singapore

    "Although focused on Chinese students, this book provides critical insight to educators working with any international doctoral students. Yang and MacCallum skillfully illuminate students’ own voices offering a deep, holistic narrative of their experiences that has real potential to increase inclusion, meaningful support, and degree completion."
    Casey Dinger, Executive and Academic Director for Internationalization, University of Denver, USA

    "Chinese Students and the Experience of International Doctoral Study in STEM provides an impressively comprehensive analysis of the complex experiences of Chinese international doctoral students in the STEM disciplines. It is an essential resource for scholars and students with a research interest in doctoral student experiences while studying abroad.”
    Michael KUNG, Director, Global Education & Program Director, Sustainable Design Masters Program, University of Florida, USA

    "Standing apart from other publications in this area, Chinese STEM PhD Students Abroad through its narrative inquiry offers incredibly rich data around student experience in the course of study and in Australia more broadly. This publication reflects how important longitudinal qualitative research is to the field of international higher education."
    Lisa Unangst, Visiting Assistant Professor, Miami University, USA

    "Chinese Students and the Experience of International Doctoral Study in STEM sheds light on a critically important yet often understudied area in the literature. The book provides readers with theoretical and empirical perspectives on STEM international research students' experiences. It also offers practical suggestions on how to successfully complete a PhD abroad for both students and their supervisors."

    Xin Zhao, Lecturer, University of Sheffield, UK