Chinese Graduate Students’ Narratives and Sociolinguistic Advice on Intercultural Communication at Southern U.S. Universities
Keywords:Chinese international graduate students, co-cultural theory, ESL, intercultural communication, narrative research, sociolinguistics, advanced NESs
Although intercultural communication competence can be developed through cross-cultural experiences and dialogues (Jin, Cooper & Golding, 2016) and involving interactions (Rodenborg & Boisen, 2013), studies show that Chinese graduate students considered advanced English speakers continuously report difficulties in engaging in “intercultural communication” with Native English Speakers (NESs) in the U.S. (e.g., Gareis, 2012; Xiao & Petraki, 2007). Drawn upon co-cultural theory, the narrative-research-design study utilizing 17 scenario-hypothesized interviews reveals the experiences of eight Chinese advanced-ESL graduate students as they describe sociolinguistic struggles and cultural variations in verbal communication with the dominant linguistic group-NESs on their campuses. Four main instructive themes emerged. Specifically, participants felt misunderstood when NESs failed to understand that Chinese students’ words were not literal or that their selfless words were self-centered decisions; and they insisted that truly effective intercultural communication would require effort from both sides on their host campuses. Through this underrepresented group’s narratives, I outline recommendations for developing intercultural communication competencies for higher education institutions.
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