Working in China: Reflections from The Jiangxi Province

Paul Cowley, Sally Sun, Martin Smith, Paul Kupakuwana

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportConference Contributionpeer-review


The internationalisation of higher education has led to an increase in both the expansion of higher education institutions into new countries and also the scope for partnerships between higher education institutions and organisations in different countries around the world. These expansions and partnerships can provide interesting opportunities for academics wishing to work internationally. The purpose of this paper is to use one such partnership as the context for a research project which has examined the experiences of a university lecturer from the UK, who, through a partnership arrangement has spent a year living and working in the Jiangxi province.

The data derived was based on 3 semi-structured interviews (2 Skype interviews and 1 face to face interview). These interviews were carried out between September 2016 and December 2017. During these interviews the respondent was asked to describe their experiences during this time-frame (both personally and professionally) . The reflections and feedback of the respondent have been presented in this paper against the context of key research in the area of expatriate educators, focusing on 3 themes:

1) What were the influencing factors in the respondent deciding to leave the UK and start work in China?
2) What issues of adjustment has the respondent encountered in the new working and living context?
3) What are the key traits needed for successful expatriate educator adjustment?

The feedback from the interviews highlighted a range of issues and opportunities. The respondent indicated that the primary positive outcome of their year working in China was the career development acquired through the development of new and existing skills and also the new professional contacts they made (these contacts have resulted in further academic and professional collaboration). The respondent highlighted keys challenges as being not only overcoming personal adjustment issues related to the general culture shock they felt throughout their time in China but also the professional adjustments they had to make when working with not only their new colleagues but also the largely Chinese speaking cohorts at the University (these adjustment areas were based around issues of systems, culture and language). The respondent indicated in the interviews that the primary motivating factor for relocating to China for work purposes was a financial one.

The research was conducted as part of a larger project which is studying the working and living experiences of expatriate educators in different parts of the world; with the purpose of examining several key issues: motivating factors for expatriate movement, adjustment challenges, and the key traits needed for the successful adjustment of expatriate educators.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEDULEARN18 Proceedings
PublisherInternational Academy of Technology, Education and Development (IATED)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)978-84-09-02709-5
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2018
Event 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies -
Duration: 2 Jul 20184 Jul 2018


Conference 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies


  • china
  • expatriate adjustment
  • higher education


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