Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Accounting, Economics and Finance


International students are vital to the Australian education sector, particularly students from China who comprise the largest international student cohort (Department of Education, 2019). In order to cater to the learning needs of these students, peer mentoring programs are often used by Australian universities. This thesis evaluates the effectiveness of one such program using Kahu’s (2013) student engagement framework. The program CABLE offers bilingual peer-assisted learning workshops (B-PAL) and social activities in the business faculty of a regional Australian university. A mixed methods approach is used to collect and analyse data, including surveys, interviews, and student grades. The results show that the CABLE program positively influences students’ psycho-social attributes, hence assisting Chinese students to achieve better academic performance. This thesis contributes to the literature concerning the higher education sector by extending Kahu’s (2013) student engagement framework. In addition, it fills a gap in the literature by evaluating the B-PAL approach as an integration of the peer-assisted learning (PAL) philosophy, bilingual education, and social networks for international students. It also demonstrates that the B-PAL program can be implemented by higher education institutions as a means to better engage international students, assist student transition, and hence improve retention.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.