Chinese Students ’ Group-Level Acculturation Features

Culture Features

Most Chinese students’ cross-cultural experiences have been one of confusion, uncertainty, and hastened adjustment. Marginal syndrome characterized most Chinese abroad and many of them are caught between their Chinese root and Western ideas. While expressing enthusiasm about Western ideas, real Western life is strange and alienating, and most Chinese students abroad cling to their native roots and demonstrate sojourner mentalities (Wang 1992). On the other hand, while longing for the native land and family culture, after years of study in the United States, students develop a special and deep feeling toward America and the brain drain phenomena has become an increasingly severe result of the contemporary foreign study movement (Xu 2006).

Culturally, sociocultural challenge in America is real and unavoidable, most Chinese students are caught in a deep dilemma of needing to change, and while at the same time, they are unable or unwilling to change. Most Chinese students’ responses to the American sociocultural challenge have been at a higher level of assimilation for their extrinsic cultural traits such as overt behaviors, dress, manners, lifestyle, and English language skills than for their intrinsic cultural traits including religious beliefs, ethnic values, and cultural heritage. They present an Americanized exterior while maintaining a Chinese interior.

Most of them end up ambiguous in their cultural existence, vacillating between Chinese culture and American culture, identifying with neither, nor, for that matter, being accepted by either. In most cases, their sense of cultural identity is substituted by scientific and economic pursuits. Little cultural reflection is conducted, as most students are more concerned about their personal survival (Wang 1992).

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