Exploring Academic Acculturation Experiences of Chinese International Students with Low Oral English Proficiency: A Musically Enhanced Narrative Inquiry
Situated within an increasing trend of globalization and internationalization, 97 percent of Canadian universities offer international experiences to students. Chinese international students are the biggest international student group in Canada, and they are also the group with the lowest spoken English scores. Studies have demonstrated that oral English capacity significantly influences international students’ academic acculturation. However, little is known about the lived academic acculturation experiences of Chinese international students with limited spoken English. To address this literature gap, this study aimed to understand the academic acculturation experiences of Chinese international students with limited spoken English currently studying at a Canadian university. A musically enhanced narrative inquiry approach was employed, building on traditional forms of narrative inquiry by utilizing sound and music. Data were collected through art-informed interviews with six Chinese international students, and were analyzed through both narrative and musical re-storying, resulting in the creation of both literary and musical narrative representations. Expectancy-Value Theory served as a theoretical framework that informed the study design and the interpretation of results. The narratives from all six Chinese students demonstrated high levels of psychological stress during their academic acculturation and that their motivation for spoken English learning was drastically improved in relation to their academic acculturation experiences. By exploring the experiences of Chinese international students with limited spoken English capacity through a musically enhanced narrative inquiry, this study contributes to the existing understanding of international students’ academic acculturation, and has uncovered implications for various associated stakeholders including Chinese students, parents, and teachers, and host country educators and support service personnel who work with international students.