Assimilate the Individual ‘I’ Into the Collective ‘we’? Mainland China Students’ Localisation and Adaptation during Their Study in Hong Kong


The binary concept of globalise/localise, similarities/differences as well as the issue of actualise/neutralise (Vischer, 1989, 1996; Hall, 2003) constitutes the major focus of this study. Framing the above into the cross-boundary and overseas education, it would be interesting to know how ‘diasporic consciousness’ re-generates overseas students’ identity and sense of belonging. More specifically, this paper aims for an understanding of students from mainland China’s social and psychological needs during their study in Hong Kong. Previous survey on students from mainland China revealed that along with their learning experiences, students are constantly confronting with the struggles of localisation and adaptation to the Hong Kong community. Hence, from a social-psychological perspective, we will take further look into how do the Mainland students assimilating themselves into the Hong Kong community? The empirical work of this study was conducted to a group of 28 students from mainland China studying in Hong Kong. Additional interviews were also conducted to teachers. Findings suggest that in general, the ‘diasporic consciousness’ drawn the students to reflect on the “labelling effects”. Students expected a multi-cultural learning experience and they would like to build friendship between local and non-local peers in order to blend into the Hong Kong community. Mutual acceptance was another important issue that came to attention. They also showed conscious about their identities when studying transnational and overseas programmes. This further indicates that they had exercised self-actualisation/neutralisation, localisation/adaptation activities so as to assimilate the individual ‘I’ into the collective ‘We’.

Author Information
Annie Lai-Fong Lau, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong
Gloria Kit-Man Chung, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong
Ricky Yuk-Kwan Ng, Vocational Training Council, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2014
Stream: Education

This paper is part of the ACE2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon