|INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL EXPERIENCES IN AN INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY IN HONG KONG:
THE ROLE OF LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION
|Chit Cheung Sung
City University of Hong Kong
This paper will report on findings of a research project on international students’ academic and social experiences in a multilingual university setting in Hong Kong. In particular, it examines the role of language and communication in shaping their academic and social integration in the university. Based on narratives collected through in-depth interviews with two international students, the study found that their academic and social identities appear to be shaped by their access to participation in different activities in the university. Their participation in different social and academic activities could in turn be contingent upon whether they possess the linguistic capital necessary to be granted entry. While the international students were welcomed and recognized as valued participants in communities where ELF was the norm, their participation was severely constrained in communities where the use of the local language, Cantonese, was imposed as the norm by the local students. Findings also show that the use of ELF could be an empowering and enriching experience for international students in order to seek a sense of legitimacy as members of the university and develop desirable academic and social identities in various communities in the university.
Matthew Sung is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at City University of Hong Kong. He previously taught at the University of Hong Kong and Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He holds a PhD from Lancaster University, UK. He specializes in sociolinguistics, language and identity, second language learning, and higher education. His recent publications have appeared in journals such as ELT Journal, English Today, Compare, System, Applied Linguistics Review, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Journal of Gender Studies, Language, Culture and Curriculum, Linguistics and Education, and Journal of Language, Identity and Education.