International Doctoral Student Experience

Compassion, Connection, Commitment, and Creativity


  • Jing Mao University of Vicotoria



International doctoral students, rhythm of doctoral studies, 4Cs, Learner Agency


International doctoral students live with more uncertainty than most academic populations. In this essay, I attempt to provide a framework for living an international doctoral life by reflecting on my academic studies and personal living practices, drawing on van Lier’s (2008) notion of learner agency. Living a rhythm of life through compassion, connection, commitment, and creativity could holistically benefit the academic studies and wellbeing of international doctoral students.

Author Biography

Jing Mao, University of Vicotoria

Jing Mao currently is a recent Ph.D. graduate from the University of Victoria, Canada. Her research focuses on internationalization of higher education, academic writing, EAL students, and (second) language socialization. Before immigrating into Canada in 2015, she had taught EAL students for eight years at post-secondary level in China. 


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How to Cite

Mao, J. (2022). International Doctoral Student Experience: Compassion, Connection, Commitment, and Creativity. Journal of International Students, 12(4), 1032–1037.



Cross-Border Narratives