An investigation of cultural factors that influence Chinese accounting students in New Zealand

Chen, Kaina
Prescott, James
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Master of Business
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Auckland University of Technology

This research study aims to investigate the cultural factors that influence the success and experience of Chinese international students studying in New Zealand. In particular the research focuses on the academic experiences of Chinese international students studying accounting at Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

The study is qualitative and draws on data collected from 11 semi-structured interviews with Chinese international students majoring in accounting. The data was then sorted into several themes and analysed against the cultural context of both China and New Zealand.

Chinese international students carry with them their traditional Chinese values and learning strategies may seem inappropriate in some circumstances while studying in New Zealand. They have encountered many difficulties due to the cultural and educational differences between China and New Zealand.

The most significant finding suggest that a number of Chinese cultural factors, such as harmony, wulun (Five Cardinal Relationship, 五伦), mianzi (Face, 面子), and filial piety, NCEE (高考, examination-oriented education) and Chaoxi (抄袭, plagiarism) implicitly or explicitly, influence Chinese international students in terms of adjusting and adapting to the social and academic environment in New Zealand. Consequently these cultural differences directly impacted on their academic performance, class room experience and handling of assessment tools and processes that were different from what they had been accustomed to. It should not be taken for granted that they have known how to manage their new academic environment. The process of adjustment and adaption is difficult, especially without appropriate guidance and assistance from universities and academic staff. Although not all the Chinese international students had positive experiences, it is still inspiring to see that some Chinese international students express positive attitude towards their learning experiences.

The findings from this research project will help universities in New Zealand better understand the behaviours and perception of Chinese international students. Understanding these difficulties will enable universities and business faculties to review and adapt their pedagogical practices to accommodate the needs of international students and contribute to their overall success.

Chinese accounting students , Accounting education
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