Social participation and identity change during study abroad: British sojourners in China

Mark Feng Teng, Barry Lee Reynolds, Xuan Van Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An international experience usually influences language learners’ identity through social participation. This qualitative study examines a group of British students’ identity change in China. We conducted individual interviews and group discussions with eight participants. The analysis revealed that despite an outset perception of “otherness,” some students sought excitement and new experiences while others strengthened national identities. Students whose identity shifted toward the “open-ended” took pride in their Chinese proficiency development and made use of “otherness” to build close and meaningful relationships. Students whose identity shifted toward a “self–other” orientation did not seek cultural experiences. These findings will inform international students and education providers to make the most use of study-abroad opportunities and experiences to learn the culture and language of the host country.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Linguistics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • British students
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • identity development
  • language development
  • social participation
  • study abroad
  • 关键词:身份发展;语言发展;留学;汉语(普通话);英国学生;社会参与


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