“I finally marginalized myself from the mainstream”: An autoethnography study of Chinese international student’s development of intercultural communicative competence

Yuqi Lin, Hongzhi Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In the higher education market, the cross-border flow of international students has become increasingly apparent. For Australia, China has been a major student source and the majority of these students has been enrolled in the higher education sector. Such a phenomenon has rendered the innovation of higher education management necessary, and its socio-cultural influence has attracted attention from the Australian government. This study suggests that international students’ intercultural communicative competence (ICC) deficits could influence their self-perceptions thus compromising their ability to communicate with peers. Using a qualitative research approach, the study explores the extent to which China’s College English influences Chinese international students' intercultural performance and unpacks the reasons for their behaviours. An autoethnography of a Chinese international student was provided to indicate that the experience from both home and host countries would constitute a habitual thinking pattern which could exert an enduring impact on individuals. Via critically engaging with Byram and Morgan’s three dimensions of ICC and Byram’s model of ICC, the participant’s ICC was analysed, and her conceptions of culture and language were discovered. This study advocates more meaning explorations about English curricula and highlights the need for forming a caring and humane society, and tapping the value of international students in the era of globalisation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3665-3682
Number of pages18
JournalThe Qualitative Report
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Chinese international student
  • intercultural communicative competence (ICC)
  • China’s English education
  • College English Curriculum (CEC)

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