A Qualitative Study of the Role of Social Ties and Learning Style Differences in Affecting Chinese International Students’ Perceived Academic Performance

Jian Zhang ( Northeast Normal University,5268, Renmin Street, Changchun city, Jilin province, China )

Guopeng Wang ( China Scholarship Council,No.9, Chegongzhuang Ave., Beijing, China )


This qualitative study aimed to solicit the perceptions of Chinese international students about their social tie formation and learning styles in a European country (Belgium) and relations to their perceived academic performance. Four focus groups, involving 21 Chinese students were conducted. This focus group study provided a picture of the interactional and learning experiences of Chinese international students in Belgium. The results indicated that Chinese students have built primary co-national ties, secondary international ties and  tertiary host-national ties (i.e., domestic students) and perceived a number of learning style differences as compared to the western students. Furthermore, this qualitative study captured some essence of how these different social ties and learning style differences influenced Chinese students’ academic performance.


Chinese international student; Social tie; Learning style; Academic performance; Qualitative

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