Cross-Cultural Adaptation of International Students from China: Confidence in English Speaking Ability in ESL and EAP Classes


In recent decades, the number of international students studying at universities  in United States has grown tremendously, which has increased by five percent in the previous year, reaching a total of 723, 227.  Also in the 2010-2011 academic year, the Institute of International Education announced that 157,558 of international students list China as their native country Given that Chinese international students (CIS) represent the largest number and have the most profound differences from American culture and language, our objective is to gain a better understanding in terms of this group’s social and academic adjustment in their new environment. Previous literature has recognized learning the English language as one of the most stressful barriers for successful cross-cultural adaptation in which one study concluded that students’ beliefs about their language proficiency was directly related to the lack of confidence observed during social interactions in the English setting- whereas social self-efficacy in the native language context were significantly higher- demonstrating that perceived rather than actual language ability is a better predictor of academic achievement and social self-efficacy. The present research examined perceived English proficiency (PEP) among Chinese international students enrolled at a university in the Midwest in the United States of America. This study hypothesized that having greater diversity in terms of social networks and interactions, a more westernized outlook on the roles of students and teachers in classrooms, and intrinsic (rather than extrinsic) motivation for studying in another country will be associated with higher levels of confidence in English ability. The results indicated that demographic factors alone (gender, age, and years living in US/studying English) did not significantly account for participants’ confidence in English competency; however, both social networks and beliefs in authority figures significantly predicted PEP.

Author Information
Hisako Matsuo, Saint Louis Univeristy, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2013
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2013 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Matsuo H. (2013) Cross-Cultural Adaptation of International Students from China: Confidence in English Speaking Ability in ESL and EAP Classes ISSN: 2187-4751 – The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies 2013 – Official Conference Proceedings
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