The transition into academic life for Chinese students coming to Australia can be difficult as they navigate different cultural, social, and educational norms. As a group of two academics from Australia and one from China, we were interested in exploring ways students from China could best be supported prior to leaving their country in readiness for academic life in Australia. As an international partnership, we examined transition issues for Chinese students by focussing on building students’ peer learning partnerships, prior to their departure from China to Australia. Chinese students in China were paired up with students in Australia for a weekly online session via Skype discussing culture and university-related topics. In order to direct the conversations, weekly questions were developed for each session. Students and staff had access to a learning management platform to share information and exchange ideas. The impact on both Australian and Chinese students was measured qualitatively through thematic analysis of student Skype conversations, reflections, and open-ended survey questions, and quantitatively through multiple choice survey questions. The main finding for this paper, which focuses on the quantitative data, was that this pre-departure interaction alerted Chinese students in China to their English language limitations and motivated them to do further English language learning prior to and once they had arrived in Australia. The quantitative data also pointed to the kinds of information which students wanted to know prior to coming to Australia which in some cases was different from what had been anticipated by the researchers.
Recommended CitationMiao, Lili; Henderson, Fiona; and Supple, Briony, Online Pre-departure Peer Learning: What are the Transition Benefits for Chinese Students?, Journal of Peer Learning, 10, 2017, 1-17.