Perspectives of Mainland Chinese Postgraduate Students (MCPSs) on their Studies at an Australian University at the End of Their First Year of Study

Ms Jian Zhao1, Dr Elaine Chapman1, Professor Thomas O’Donoghue1

1University Of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

In 2017, international students contributed almost $32 billion to Australia’s economy (Maslen, 2018), more than half of which was attributable to students from China (McGowan, 2018). Indeed, China has by now become the most significant source of international students for Australian universities. Accordingly, studies are required on all aspects of their experiences. This paper is one contribution to the field. It presents the results of a qualitative study where the aim was to generate theory on the perspectives of mainland Chinese postgraduate students (MCPSs) on their studies at an Australian university at the end of their first year of enrolment. Data were obtained through engaging in one-on-one in-depth semi-structured interviews of current MCPSs at one Australian university and were analysed using grounded theory approaches. Results are presented in relation to commonalities, divergence and idiosyncrasies in participants’ perspectives. Implications for further research are also considered.


Jian Zhao is a PhD student in the Graduate School of Education, the University of Western Australia. She is from China and now doing research on Chinese international students in Australian Higher Education.

Tom O’Donoghue is Professor in the Graduate School of Education, the University of Western Australia. He specialises in the history of education in the English-speaking world, with particular reference to the history of teachers and the process of education in faith-based schools.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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