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 AASoci  Vol.10 No.11 , November 2020
Study on the Academic Situation and Environmental Factors among the Influencing Factors of International Students’ Cross-Cultural Adaptation —Take Chinese Students Studying in the UK as an Example
Abstract: The Articulation program led by the Overseas Education Service Center of the Ministry of Education of China has developed rapidly in recent years and has become an important way for Chinese students to study abroad. The level of cross-cultural adaptation of students studying in the UK has an important influence on whether students can successfully complete their studies. The level of cross-cultural adaptation is greatly affected by factors such as academic performance, interpersonal relationships, environment and psychology. This research conducted a questionnaire survey of 245 Chinese students studying in the UK to explore the impact of academic situation and environmental factors on the cross-cultural adaptation of Chinese students.

1. Introduction

1.1. Background Introduction of the Study

The articulation program has developed rapidly in recent years and is an important way for Chinese students to study in the UK. This program is that after one or two years of study in a Chinese university, students will go to the UK to complete the remaining two years of undergraduate study tasks after reaching the corresponding academic standards, and finally obtain a British university degree. Due to the huge differences in education mode and living environment between China and Britain, students will encounter various cross-cultural adaptation difficulties when studying in the UK. The level of cross-cultural adaptation has an important influence on whether students can successfully complete their studies.

Through previous research, it can be seen that Chinese students’ cross-cultural adaptation is mainly determined by four influencing factors: academic performance, interpersonal relationships, environmental factors and psychological adaptation. This study chooses 245 students from the Chinese articulation programs, who need to continue their studies in the UK to complete their undergraduate courses after studying in a Chinese university for two years. This research focuses on the main difficulties they encountered in cross-cultural adaptation during their study and life in the UK from the perspective of academic situation and environmental factors to analyze the main influencing factors and reasons that affect their cross-cultural adaptation.

1.2. The Academic and Environmental Adaptation Problems Encountered by Chinese Students in the UK

According to previous research, after Chinese students start their study in the UK, academic situation and environmental factors are the most important aspects that affect their life satisfaction. There are significant differences in teaching between Chinese and British universities. First of all, there are big differences in teaching modes. In China, university education is a kind of knowledge instillation learning led by the teacher. Specifically, students follow the teaching progress of the teacher to learn knowledge under the established framework, which emphasizes to remember the knowledge. Besides, most of the coursework is completed by the students independently and the main assessment method is the test for student at the end of the course. On the contrast, the British university education is a combination of teacher teaching knowledge and students’ independent learning, emphasizing the cultivation of students’ critical thinking. Under the guidance of the teacher, students learn by themselves to develop pioneering perspectives beyond basic knowledge. Students cooperate with each other to complete group assignments, class lectures and other assignments. The above-mentioned differences require Chinese students to quickly adjust themselves to adapt to the teaching methods in the UK, and change from a listener of pure classroom teaching to a classroom participant who can make good use of critical thinking (Yu, 2009).

After Chinese students arrive in the UK, the completely unfamiliar living environment and social environment will make students feel pressured. The discomfort caused by environmental factors is mainly composed of the social environment and the objective environment. Social environment refers to social norms and public awareness; objective environment refers to eating habits, transportation facilities, climate environment, and various natural environments. The social environment and the objective environment of China and the UK are quite different. Therefore, this author will focus on analyzing some aspects that the oversea students think are quite different from China and that have a greater impact on study and life. Some of them are relatively easy to be adapted, while others are still so difficult to be adapted that oversea students still feel difficult when they leave the UK.

2. Research Method

2.1. Research Design

The self-compiled and formatted questionnaire “Questionnaire on Cross-cultural Adaptability of Students in the UK of the Articulation Program” includes two factors, “academic performance” and “environmental factors”, with a total of 17 questions. The questionnaire uses Likert five-point scoring system. Degree from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” are counted as 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 points in sequence.

2.2. Research Process

There is an instruction attached and questions are randomly arranged. Besides, the respondents are informed of the significance of the investigation and privacy protection measures. The author went to the University of Lancaster, University of Leicester, University of Coventry, University of Central Lancashire, University of Portsmouth, University of Westminster and University of Bedfordshire to collect questionnaires on the spot. The questionnaires were filled out anonymously and received on the spot. A total of 245 questionnaires were sent out and 210 valid questionnaires were returned. The effective response rate was 85.7%.

3. Questionnaire Analysis on Academic Situation

After descriptive statistical analysis of each item in this questionnaire, the researcher found that:

As shown in Table 1, on the question about “Writing an essay with good grades” (Q 1), the students who thought it was easier to get a good grade essay accounted for 54.81% of the total number of students participating in the survey, and those who thought it was difficult to get a good grade essay accounted for only 11.91% of the total students. Writing essay is a very important part of the coursework, and it is also a component of the overall assessment of the course. Researchers believe that most students think they can get good grades.

As shown in Table 2, on the question of “understanding the course content” (Q 4), 33.33% of the participants chose “very easy”, 34.29% of the participants chose “easy”, 24.76% of the participants chose “average”, and 0.48% of the participants chose “very difficult”, 7.14% of the participants choose “difficult”. That is to say, the students who think that it is easy to understand the content of the class account for 67.62% of the total students participating in the survey, and those who think that the content of the class is difficult to understand only account for 7.62%. Researchers believe that most students think that they can understand the content of the content.

Table 1. Analysis of questions for “writing essays with good grades” (Q 1).

Table 2. Analysis of questions for “understanding the course content” (Q 4).

As shown in Table 3, in the question of “difficulty of discuss questions with students from other countries after class” (Q 2), 11.43% of the participants chose “Very easy”, 35.24% of the participants chose “Easy”, and 32.86% participants chose “average”, 0.95% of the participants chose “Very difficult”, and 19.52% of the participants chose “Difficult”. In other words, students who think it is easy to discuss questions with students from other countries account for 46.67% of the total students participating in the survey, and those who think it is difficult to discuss questions with students from other countries account for only 20.47%. Meanwhile, 32.86% of students chose “average”. In-class and after-class discussion is an important means to test whether students can use critical thinking to understand the course in the UK teaching process. After-class discussion is an indispensable step for completing group assignments. In teaching, in-class discussion and after-class discussion belong to the output behavior of the mastered knowledge, which can only be realized after students have a good understanding of the knowledge. In this question, the proportion of students who thought “easy” is less than those who “understand the content of course”, indicating that studying in the UK is still challenging for Chinese students.

As shown in Table 4, on the question of “express your views clearly in class” (Q 3), 21.9% of the participants chose “very easy”, 33.81% of the participants chose “easy”, and 31.43% of the participants chose “average”, 0.48% of the participants chose “very difficult”, and 12.38% of the participants chose “difficult”. In other words, students who thought it was easy to express their opinions clearly in class account for 55.71% of the total students participating in the survey, and those who thought it was difficult to express their opinions clearly in class account for 12.85%. Researchers believe that most students think they can easily express their opinions in class.

As shown in Table 5, on the question of “reading and understanding the materials recommended by the tutor” (Q 5), 7.62% of the participants chose “very easy”, 35.71% of the participants chose “easy”, and 35.24% of the participants chose “average”, 0.95 % Of the participants chose “very difficult”, and 20.48% of the participants chose “very difficult”. In other words, students who thought that they could easily understand the reading materials recommended by their tutors account for 43.33% of the total students participating in the survey, and those who thought it was difficult to read and understand the materials account for only 21.43%. 35.24% of students thought it was average. Reading and understanding the after-school materials recommended by the tutor is an important part of British course teaching. It is an important means of supplementing knowledge and using critical thinking to understand professional materials.

Table 3. Analysis of questions for “difficulty of discuss questions with students from other countries after class” (Q 2).

Table 4. Analysis of questions for “express your views clearly in class” (Q 3).

Table 5. Analysis of questions for “reading and understanding the materials recommended by the tutor” (Q 5).

Moreover, after the tutor assigns the reading material task, he will require that the material need to be discussed on Seminar, and the teaching assistant will check whether the student’s understanding of the material is correct. Therefore, reading after-class materials has high demands on students. Reading materials and in-class discussions belong to the combination of the input and output of the acquired knowledge, which can only be realized after students have a good understanding of the knowledge (Tan, 2013). In this question, the proportion of students who think it was “easy” dropped to 43.33%, indicating that this task is difficult for Chinese students.

As shown in Table 6, the situation is similar to the question “I am used to completing group tasks with foreign students” (Q 6). 13.33% of the participants chose “very easy”, 30% of the participants chose “easy”, 34.29% of the participants chose “average”, 1.9% of the participants chose “very difficult”, and 20.48% of the participants chose “difficult”. Students who thought it was easy to cooperate with foreign students to complete tasks together accounted for 43.33% of the total students participating in the survey. Students who thought it was difficult to complete group tasks with students from other countries accounted for only 22.38%, and another 34.29% of the students thought it was “average”. Teaching in British universities emphasizes teamwork. The teacher in each class randomly divides the classmates into groups, and the group completes the homework together. In the process of completing homework, students need to have good communication and cooperation, requiring not only discussing, but also working together to complete the homework. It has high requirements for students’ knowledge mastery, verbal communication and coordination skills. On this issue, the proportion of students who thought that it was easy dropped to 43.33%, indicating that this task is difficult for Chinese students.

As shown in Table 7, regarding the question of “after getting familiar with the British teaching model, adapt to the teaching model” (Q 7), 21.43% of the participants chose “very easy”, 37.62% of the participants chose “easy” and 32.38% participated Participants chose “average”, 0.48% of participants chose “Very difficult”, and 8.1% of participants chose “difficult”. 59.05% of students think that they can adapt to this teaching mode after being familiar with the British education model. Only 8.58% of students think they cannot adapt to this teaching mode. This shows that at the time of the questionnaire survey, when they study in the UK for 6 months, most of the students have adapted to the British teaching model relatively well.

As shown in Table 8, regarding the question of “after understanding the British course assessment method, adapt to this assessment method” (Q 8), 22.86% of the participants chose “very easy”, 35.71% of the participants chose “easy”, and 27.14% Of the participants chose “average”, 1.9% of participants chose “very difficult”, and 12.38% of participants chose “difficult”. 58.57% of students think that they can adapt to this assessment method after they understand the British curriculum assessment method. This proportion is slightly lower than the

Table 6. Analysis of questions for “I am used to completing group tasks with foreign students” (Q 6).

Table 7. Analysis of questions for “after getting familiar with the British teaching model, adapt to the teaching model” (Q 7).

Table 8. Analysis of questions for “after understanding the British course assessment method, adapt to this assessment method” (Q 8).

previous question about “adapting to the British teaching model”. 12.38% of students think that they still cannot adapt to this assessment method, which is higher than the previous question. This shows that although a relatively large number of students have adapted to the British assessment method, 14.28% of the students still feel that they are not adapted to the British assessment method.

As shown in Table 9, in the “Fully understand the British graduation and admission system, be able to make further plans” (Q 9) test questions, 46.19% of the students chose “Very Easy”, 40% of the students chose “Easy”, 12.38% The students chose “average”, and only 1.43% of the students chose “difficult”. This shows that after understanding the British university education system and the requirements and procedures for applying for a master’s degree, students have a clearer plan for further studies and employment, and are familiar with the education system of British universities.

Table 9. Analysis of questions for “Fully understand the British graduation and admission system, be able to make further plans” (Q 9).

4. Questionnaire Analysis on Environmental Factors

After Chinese students arrive in the UK, the completely unfamiliar living environment and social environment will make students feel pressured. The discomfort caused by environmental factors is mainly composed of the social environment and the objective environment. Social environment refers to social norms and public awareness; objective environment refers to eating habits, transportation facilities, climate environment, and various natural environments (Gao, 2008). The social environment and the objective environment of China and the UK are quite different. Therefore, this author will focus on analyzing some aspects that the oversea students think are quite different from China and that have a greater impact on study and life. Some of them are relatively easy to be adapted, while others are still so difficult to be adapted that oversea students still feel difficult when they leave the UK.

As shown in Table 10, in the answer to the question “Comply with the local code of conduct just like the locals” (Q 24), 36.19% of the students thought it was “very easy”, 38.57% of the students thought it was “easy”, and 21.9% of the students thought it was “average”. 3.33% of the students thought it was “more difficult”, and no students thought it was very difficult. The data shows that 74.76% of students think that they can easily adapt to local social customs and behavioral norms, while only 3.33% of students think it is difficult to adapt. British people are more polite. When getting on and off the bus, passengers will say “Thank you” to the bus driver; before coughing, they will cover their mouths and say “Excuse me”; they often say “Thank you” and “Sorry” on the lips. After a short period of observation, Chinese students will generally imitate the habits of the British and gradually internalize these behaviors into their own actions.

Similarly, as shown in Figure 1, in the answer to the test question “When crossing the street, I will subconsciously look to the right” (Q 23), 21.9% of the students thought it was “very easy”, 44.76% of the students thought it was “easy”, 26.67% Of students think it is “average”, 5.71% of students think it is “difficult”, and 0.95% of students think it is very difficult. The data shows that 66.66% of students think that they can easily adapt to British traffic regulations, while only 0.95% of students think it is difficult to adapt. Researchers believe that students are generally easy to adapt to the above two types of situations.

Table 10. Analysis of questions for Q 17 to Q 24.

Figure 1. Analysis about question (Q 23) of “When crossing the road, I will subconsciously look to the right”.

This is because explicit habitual behaviors only require changes in behavior, which are not highly related to cognitive and emotional factors, cultural background, learning ability. The requirement for knowledge is not strict, and it is easier to imitate and learn. When it comes to factors related to cultural background, learning ability, and knowledge level, the difficulty of adaptation will increase.

Compared with China, the operating system and working methods of the British government public service system are quite different from those in China, and Chinese students generally find it difficult to adapt. The British medical system is one of the most criticized by Chinese students. This kind of free medical service is a kind of medical service with wide coverage, high coverage, and extremely low cost, but its efficiency and effectiveness are relatively low (Liu, 2008). First of all, after arriving in the UK, students need to go to the local general practitioner (General Practitioner, hereinafter referred to as GP) to complete the registration procedures, which is also ignored by many students. When they really need to go to the GP to see a doctor, they discovered that they had not yet gone through the registration procedures. Secondly, when a student is sick and needs to make an appointment with a GP, the waiting time will generally exceed 2 to 3 weeks. If a student has a mild fever or a cold, after waiting for 2 to 3 weeks, they will generally heal on their own. Before the appointment time comes, the GP cannot provide any help to the students. Chinese international students generally take common medicines brought in China by themselves based on past experience or parents’ opinions. In China, if students do not appoint a hospital or a specific doctor, they can generally register and see a doctor smoothly. On the other hand, doctors and citizens between China and Britain have a large gap in their understanding of the condition and treatment options. In Chinese hospitals, examinations, diagnosis, and prescriptions are a common practice. In the United Kingdom, doctors tend to adopt conservative treatment plans that rely on the patient's own resistance. Generally, patients are advised to drink more water, eat more vitamins, and physically cool down to eliminate the disease through the patient's own immunity. Thirdly, there are big differences in the understanding of cold and heat between China and Britain. Traditional Chinese medicine is very particular about the use of hot and cold water. The same is true for colds and fever. Chinese medicine advises people with colds to drink more hot water to cure. Drinking cold water at this time will aggravate the symptoms. When you have a cold due to inner heat, you can choose to take it cold like honeysuckle or sangjuyin. However, British doctors lack TCM dialectics and would directly recommend that patients with fever drink cold water or even ice water to help cool the body, but actually cold water can sometimes hurt the body (Song, 2017).

Chinese students also criticize the service and reliability of the British police system. Due to the limited capacity of the British police, the effectiveness of solving ordinary cases is poor. Some students reported in interviews that there was a burglary in the dormitory, but after the police came to record, there was no follow-up work.

As shown in Figure 2, in the answer to the question “When I am in need, I know how to seek help from a doctor or the police” (Q 22), 35.24% of the students think it is “very difficult”, 45.71% of the students think it is “difficult”, 15.24% of the students thought it was “average”, 3.81% of the students thought it was “easy”, and no students thought it was “very easy”. The data shows that 80.95% of students do not think they know how to seek help from a doctor or the police when they need it.

Compared with the social environment, the unsuitability caused by the objective environment to overseas Chinese students will be more serious. First of all, the huge differences in eating habits between China and Britain make it difficult for oversea Chinese students to adapt. China has a long, rich and world-famous food culture, and Chinese students studying abroad have already got used to the food culture in the long-term growth environment. In qualitative interviews, oversea Chinese students generally reported that it was the most difficult to adapt to the British diet. Even when they are about to leave the UK after their studies, they cannot adapt to the British diet. As shown in Figure 3, in the answer to the question “Get used to local food” (Q 18), only 0.48% of the students

Figure 2. Analysis about question (Q 22) of “When I am in need, I know how to seek help from a doctor or the police”.

Figure 3. Analysis about question (Q 18) about “Get used to local food”.

thought it was “very easy”, 4.76% of the students thought it was “easy”, 16.67% of the students thought it was “average”, and 44.76% Of students thought it was “difficult”, 33.33% of students thought it was very difficult. The data shows that 78.09% of the students think that they cannot get used to the local diet, and only 5.24% of the students think they can adapt to the local diet.

Britain is located in a high latitude region, with long days and short nights in summer, short days and long nights in winter. The climate is a typical temperate oceanic climate, which is characterized by mild and humid throughout the year, with little change in the four seasons, but the wind is strong throughout the year and the weather is relatively changeable. In a day, it can be sunny and rainy. Although this climatic environment is quite different from most parts of China, Chinese students are more comfortable with the British weather except for occasional complaints about the British wind. Compared with China, Britain, especially in England, has a relatively small temperature difference between summer and winter, and there is generally heating in the room. Therefore, the British climate is relatively easy for Chinese students to adapt. The changeable rain and windy weather in the UK will make some students feel inconvenient, but it can be dealt with by some simple adjustments such as bringing an umbrella and buying a coat (Yang, 2005). As shown in Figure 4, in the answer to the question “Get used to the local climate and weather” (Q 17), 20% of the students thought it was “very easy”, 35.24% of the students thought it was “easy”, and 30.95% of the students thought it was “average”, 12.86% of students think it is “more difficult”, 0.95% of students think it is very difficult. The data shows that 55.24% of students think that they can easily adapt to the climate and weather in the UK, while only 13.81% of students think it is difficult to adapt. In summary, the climate and weather in the UK are external objective factors that can be adapted through self-adjustment, and it is not difficult for overseas Chinese students to adapt.

The facilities and management system of student dormitories in the UK are quite different from China. Therefore, as shown in Figure 5, in the answer to the question “Get used to the British dormitory management system” (Q 19), 23.33% of the students thought it was “very easy”, 42.86% of the students thought it was “easy”, and 28.1% of the students thought it was “average”, 5.71% of the students think it is “more difficult”, no students think it is very difficult. The data shows that 66.19% of students think they can easily adapt to the British dormitory management system, and only 5.71% of students think it is difficult to adapt.

British student dormitories are single-person dormitories. Each student has his own room with toilet, desk, wardrobe, bed and other furniture. Dormitories can be divided into two types: mixed-gender and non-mixed. Most students choose a mixed dormitory. The mixed dormitory building is a brand-new experience for Chinese students. The advantage of such a dormitory is that there is more space for communication between boys and girls, and they can work together in the communal kitchen to cook, and exchange topics such as study and life. However, some girls think that it is inconvenient to live in mixed-gender

Figure 4. Analysis about question (Q 17) about “Get used to the local climate and weather”.

Figure 5. Analysis about question (Q 19) about “Get used to the British dormitory management system”.

dormitories. In order to increase students’ international experience, the school may allocate Chinese students and foreign students in a flat. At this time, the contradiction between Chinese and foreign students’ schedules and living habits will be relatively prominent. Foreign students, including some students from third countries studying in the UK, prefer to have parties in the dormitory. The high-decibel music during the party and the kitchen that is not cleaned up in time after the party will make Chinese students feel very bored. The smoke detectors all over the room and the public kitchen also make Chinese students who smoke feel extremely uncomfortable. Once a student who smokes triggers an alarm because of smoking, he will receive a warning letter and a hefty ticket. It is worth mentioning that, as Chinese cooking uses more stir-frying methods, Chinese students must be careful when cooking, otherwise it will trigger smoke detectors. Although these factors are inconvenient for Chinese students, they can still adapt in a relatively short period of time and integrate into the new dormitory living environment. For example, some female students think that in a mixed dormitory, when they go to the supermarket to buy food, boys can help carry heavier things. Some Chinese students also quickly learned how to wrap the fresh-keeping film on the smoke detector from the brothers and sisters, so that the smoke detectors can’t sense the oily smoke emitted by cooking. Although this behavior has broken the rules of British student dormitories and has certain safety risks, it is a means for Chinese students to adapt themselves to the new environment (Li, 2013).

British university campuses are relatively small or do not have a fixed area. For example, several of the world’s top colleges located in London are located in different places. The campus is integrated with city buildings and commercial facilities. The facilities and equipment of British campuses are more advanced and completed than those of Chinese universities, and they are also very popular among students. As shown in Figure 6, in the answer to the question “I like my campus” (Q 20), 36.19% of the students thought it was “very easy”, 34.76% of the students thought it was “easy”, 21.9% of the students thought it was “average”, 6.67% of students think it is “difficult” and 0.48% of students think it is very difficult. The data shows that 56.66% of students think they like their British campus environment, and only 7.15% of students express dislike emotions. Students are more satisfied with the British campus.

Secondly, the British transportation, service reliability, convenience and price also make Chinese students feel extremely uncomfortable. Thanks to China’s rapid development in recent years, the inter-city transportation system based on high-speed rail and high-speed trains and the internal public transportation system based on subways and buses have provided the general public with a very convenient travel experience. Chinese students who have grown up in this environment may not have a particularly deep feeling before going abroad. In the interviews, some students reported that before going abroad, they felt that a city's public transport system should be as convenient, fast and reliable as domestic ones. After arriving in the UK, they felt that it was very different from the imagined developed capitalist countries. Before Chinese students came to the UK, they did not necessarily realize that although the UK is an old capitalist country, the level of development of its public transport facilities is far behind China. Trains are the main means of transportation between cities in the UK. However, the high price of trains in the UK, old vehicle facilities, low punctuality, poor cell phone coverage and other shortcomings make Chinese students who don’t know much about it feel very uncomfortable. The London Underground has a long history and wide coverage, but the price is high, there are many delays and suspensions, and there is no mobile phone signal, and some stations lack convenience facilities such as escalators and elevators. It also makes Chinese students feel that it is far from the domestic subway system.

Figure 6. Analysis about question (Q 20) about “I like my campus”.

However, after a period of adaptation, Chinese students are generally able to adapt to the British transportation system. As shown in Figure 7, in the answer to the question “When I travel to other places in the UK, I can handle transportation and accommodation problems” (Q 21), 23.81% of the students thought it was “very easy”, and 39.05% of the students thought it was “easy”, 29.05% of the students thought it was “average”, 8.1% of the students thought it was “difficult”, and no students thought it was very difficult. The data shows that 62.86% of students think that they can easily adapt to the British transportation system and arrange accommodation, while only 8.1% of students think it is difficult to adapt.

5. Results and Findings

For most overseas Chinese students, the most intense cross-cultural adaptation problems they feel after arriving in the UK are academic adaptation and environmental adaptation. The large differences in teaching models and assessment methods between China and the UK not only make students feel fresh about their studies in the UK, but also bring many difficulties to their studies. British university study focuses on teamwork and cultivates students’ ability to actively discover problems and consult materials under the guidance of teachers, while Chinese university education focuses on course listening and independent completion of homework. Therefore, the questionnaire data shows that listening to lectures and writing essays are not the main difficulties for students to adapt to their studies. Most Chinese students can complete them with greater confidence. Participating in group discussions and completing group assignments with other students is the most difficult for students to adapt. This is mainly related to the modest and courteous education that Chinese students have always received. When Chinese students speak, they will consider the impact of their speeches on

Figure 7. Analysis about question (Q 21) about “When I travel to other places in the UK, I can handle transportation and accommodation problems”.

others, and whether refuting the other party’s views will cause the other teammates to be unhappy. The difficulty of learning adjustment is largely related to the education Chinese students have been receiving. The researcher found in another case study that students will gradually adapt to the British education model after about half a year.

Environmental adaptation includes social environment and objective environment. The level of cross-cultural adaptation of the two will not have much impact on the completion of Chinese students’ academic studies, but only on the comfort of life (Sun & He, 2009). It is relatively easy for Chinese students to adapt to British social customs and behavioral norms, while they will not be able to adapt to British medical, police, and transportation services for a long time. Because the level and quality of the above-mentioned public services in China is higher than that in the United Kingdom, Chinese students will feel a greater gap in the inefficient trains and family doctors who are difficult to book. However, this gap only makes Chinese students feel that the convenience of life has declined, and it does not have much impact on learning and living standards. Therefore, even though they are not comfortable with this, they can accept it well. The adaptation to the British diet is the most difficult to accept for Chinese students. Many Chinese students cannot adapt to the British diet until graduation. In Chinese culture, food is closely integrated with Confucian culture and TCM health preservation, which focuses on beauty, taste, and the combination of food and medicine. On the one hand, Chinese food culture has been rooted in the hearts of Chinese students since childhood and is an indispensable part of their daily lives. Although they also like to experience the cuisines of various countries, British foods are inherently low in the Western world. And for the Chinese, foreign food can only be used as a supplement, while Chinese food is a necessity. On the other hand, Chinese people pay attention to three meals a day, while lunch in the UK is generally very simple. Sometimes due to course reasons, there is only enough lunch time for one sandwich or even no meals. Therefore, it is difficult for Chinese students to adapt to the British diet, and British eating habits make them feel very uncomfortable. However, there is no significant difference in the scores of students in the high academic level group and the medium academic level group in the dimension of “academic situation”. This result is unexpected. However, after analyzing the case, it is found to be so. High-level British universities have extremely strict requirements on students, students are under great academic pressure, teachers provide more difficult knowledge, there are more extracurricular reading materials, and it is difficult for students to get high scores. On the other hand, medium-level British university students are relatively less stressed and students will be more likely to get satisfactory scores. Therefore, in the questions such as “writing a good grade essay”, “reading and understanding the materials recommended by the tutor”, and “habitually completing group tasks with foreign students”, the score gap between two groups is not obvious.

6. Conclusion

The study tested 245 Chinese students studying in the UK through the self-compiled questionnaire “Questionnaire on Cross-cultural Adaptability of Students in the British Class of the Study Abroad Training Program” and found that academic situation and environmental factors are important aspects affecting their cross-cultural adaptation. The data from the questionnaire showed that at the time of the sixth month of entering the UK, the overall academic adjustment of the international students was good. Chinese students can easily understand classroom content, complete essays and express opinions independently in the classroom. Moreover, students were generally relatively well-adapted to the environment and psychological aspects. The adaptation to environmental factors is more uniform. Students can adapt well to social habits, codes of conduct, climate, weather, campus environment, etc., but it is more difficult to adapt to medical, police, and diet.

Benefiting from the school-running characteristics of the study abroad training program, students’ cross-cultural adaptation in the UK is relatively smooth. After studying together in China for two years, the 245 students went to several universities in the UK to study together. Since the local interpersonal network has not yet been established, students from China will naturally maintain close contacts and help each other to solve the difficulties in study and life encountered when they first arrived in the UK. Researchers believe that the special school-running model of the articulation program has a positive effect on students’ academic adaptation and interpersonal adaptation. In the next 30 years, the internationalization level of China’s higher education will continue to improve. The articulation programs can expand the promotion, increase the number of enrollment, and help more Chinese students successfully handle cross-cultural adaptation and complete their studies.

Funding

This research is funded by the Special Innovation Project of Department of Education of Guangdong Province “Research on the Cultural Adaptability of the Trainees of the Articulation Program from the Perspective of the Belt and Road Initiative” (project number: 2016GXJK046).

Cite this paper: Zhong, R. , Wang, D. , Xiao, F. and Liu, X. (2020) Study on the Academic Situation and Environmental Factors among the Influencing Factors of International Students’ Cross-Cultural Adaptation —Take Chinese Students Studying in the UK as an Example. Advances in Applied Sociology, 10, 465-482. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2020.1011027.
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