Title: Why study in Auckland? The perceptions of Chinese international students towards Auckland, New Zealand
- Read the proposal to understand the topic
- Section 4 on the destination image of New Zealand (Auckland) and section 5 on the urban transformation of Auckland, NZ is not completed the information required was missing. Section 5, state that studentification causes the urban transformation of Auckland, NZ. (check journal articles by Collins, International Students as Urban Agents: International Education and Urban Transformation in Auckland, New Zealand).
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Title Why study in Auckland? The perceptions of Chinese international students towards Auckland, New Zealand Abstract/Summary: (100 words or fewer) A brief summary of the research to be undertaken, written in non-technical language so that a non-specialist in the discipline will know what the proposal involves. International students play an increasingly significant role in New Zealand. International education contributed $2.5 billion dollars to the New Zealand economy in 2013 (New Zealand Education, 2013). Mainland Chinese are the predominant nationality, comprising 30.7% of the total number of international students (Education Counts, 2013). The decision to study abroad is influenced by a range of factors including perceptions and expectations about a particular location and institution. The reality of the experience may differ from these expectations as mainland Chinese students find themselves in a different culture, a different learning environment and at a distance from family and friends. Auckland, New Zealand is the predominant venue for international students from mainland China. There is a need to understand the perceptions and experiences of these students so that this growing market may be better served and catered for. This study will use semi-structured interviews with six mainland Chinese students, and use thematic analysis to analyse the data in order to answer the following primary research questions: What are the perceptions and experiences of mainland Chinese students before and after arrival in Auckland for education? Literature/Past Research Review A summary of the literature you have reviewed which will provide the context in which the research is to be undertaken. This should include a brief account of how the proposed project relates to existing knowledge and literature within the appropriate field. 1.1 The importance of international students to New Zealand International education in New Zealand began in the 1950s through the Commonwealth’s Colombo Plan, where international students travelled to study in New Zealand (Butcher, McGrath, & Stock, 2008). By 2003, New Zealand had more than 117,000 international students in all sectors of its educational institutions (Sawir, Marginson, Nyland, & Ramia, 2009; Smith & Rae, 2006). International students play an important role for the education institutions, and also for the country where they are considered an important source of income. The literature reveals that many countries often pursue international students as a way of earning export revenues. Educational institutions also use international students as a way to expand educational opportunities, extend their international focus and grow their global reputations (He & Banham, 2011). It has also been shown that international students can produce large amounts of revenue for communities and cities, speed the development of property markets and encourage other trades (Butcher & McGrath, 2004; Martens & Starke, 2008; Sawir et al., 2009). New Zealand has benefited from the large growth in the number of international students coming, to the extent that international education has been regarded as the fourth major export earner for the country, contributing $2 billion dollars to New Zealand’s economy in 2003 (Collins, 2006; Education New Zealand, 2003; Li & Li, 2008; Merwood, 2007; Smith & Rae, 2006). In 2013, the contribution from international education reached $2.5 billion (New Zealand Education, 2013). Export education is now one of the important sectors in the New Zealand economy since the revenue earned from providing international education is distributed through the economy (Li & Li, 2008; Marriott, Plessis, & Pu, 2010; Sawir et al., 2009; Smith & Rae, 2006). 1.2. The Asian education market in New Zealand According to Bodycott (2009), mainland China (from this point on simply referred to as China) is presently the primary source country of international students globally (Sawir et al., 2009; Yao, 2004). In New Zealand, most of the international students come from the east and south-east Asian nations (Latif, Bhatti, Maitlo, & Nazar, 2012; Sawir et al., 2009). The total number of Chinese students coming to New Zealand for education purpose was 25,970 in 2004; however this fell to 18,359 in 2006 (Sawir et al., 2009). The reasons given in the literature for the decrease included ineffective pastoral care, negative attitudes from local people, discrimination, a lack of government support, a lack of understanding of the needs of these students and poor educational standards (Li & Li, 2008; Sawir et al., 2009). Consequently, it is important not to assume that growth in Chinese students to New Zealand (or any other destination) for education is certain or without risks. It is clear that the needs, safety and living conditions of Chinese students are important influences. However, there is a steady growth of Chinese students coming into New Zealand for education. There is a total of 17,165 Chinese students currently studying in New Zealand in all education sectors (Ministry of Education, 2013). Zhang and Brunton (2007) stated that in New Zealand, Chinese students are the largest group of international students. Thus, they play a significant role in the education export industry in New Zealand. The reason for the rapid increase in the number of Chinese students in New Zealand is the removal in 1998 of the quota of Chinese students coming into New Zealand (Butcher et al., 2008; Smith & Rae, 2006; Zhang & Brunton, 2007). 1.3. New Zealand as an education destination One of the reasons given for New Zealand being viewed as a positive education destination, especially for students from Europe, North America, South America and Australia, is that they get good value for money (Education Counts, 2004). According to Ward and Masgoret (2004), 36% of all international students agreed that New Zealand education is good value for money, while 22% disagreed, and 41% were not sure. The reason east Asian students (such as those from China, Japan, Korea ), chose New Zealand as their overseas study destination was because of the relatively lenient entry requirements, the relatively low value of New Zealand dollar and the impression that New Zealand was a green, clean, welcoming, honest and safe place to study (Collins, 2006; Ward & Masgoret, 2004). Other reasons, such as New Zealand providing an English-speaking environment, also attract students from the east Asian countries, especially Chinese students (Bodycott, 2009; Education Counts, 2004). New Zealand also provides students with an opportunity to experience “western culture” which is possibly another reason why Chinese students come to New Zealand for their education (Butcher et al., 2008). Western culture can be defined as “cultures that have adopted cultural values, beliefs and traditions usually related with western Europe” (Martin, 2012, p.9). Thus, students who see value in learning about and adapting to such cultures may choose New Zealand as their education destination. Also, having the potential opportunity to stay in New Zealand after graduating is a factor in students choosing New Zealand as their education destination (Ward & Masgoret, 2004). 1.4. Perceptions and experiences of New Zealand as a destination Perception is defined in this study as a process where “there is an interaction in time between dynamic mind and a dynamic world” (Hockema, 2004, p.1). This means that our conscious mind builds an image in order to predict our surroundings and understand and predict what they will be like. This process includes the expectation or possibility of change, whether those changes are normal or unexpected, and how can we adapt to that change. According to Butko (2010) an individual’s perception changes every minute and every second as “these perceptions are built by our brains from sensations” (p.3). With respect to this study, perceptions most likely arise from the destination image constructed and actively promoted by New Zealand, which is known for its natural beauty and scenery (Educat
ion Counts, 2004). Such perceptions can be generated and reinforced by New Zealand campaigns such as the 100% Pure New Zealand in 2009 and the more recent campaign with its slogan 100% Middle-earth in 2012 (Tourism New Zealand, 2013). Martinez and Alvarez (2010) claim that the destination image of a place can be due to the influence of perceptions of the products of the country, including tourism products (Nadeau, Heslop, O’Reilly, & Luk, 2008). Promoting New Zealand as 100% Middle-earth has not only promoted the movie, “Hobbit” but has also increased tourists’ awareness that New Zealand is a natural and “green” place to visit. Experience is defined as “the actual living through an event” (Erlich, 2003). It can also be described as a “many-sided phenomenon, where one make sense of experience from cultural, cognitive, subconscious and personal interpretive layers” (Fox, 2008). New Zealand has been known for its natural and green habitat, as well as a safe and honest country to visit (Ward & Masgoret, 2004). These are one of the few reasons why Chinese students will like to study in New Zealand. Other reasons such as New Zealand is being seen as a western country by Chinese students influences their decision to study in New Zealand as well (Butcher et al., 2008). In this study, experiences are linked to Chinese students being able to have exposure to western culture as well as having a safe and peaceful environment in which to study. 1.5. Destination image of New Zealand Destination image has been defined as “the total beliefs, ideas and impressions that an individual has towards a destination” (Martínez & Alvarez, 2010; Mossberg & Kleppe, 2005). New Zealand has a reputation for its natural beauty, culture, sports events such as rugby, and ecotourism (Vertical News, 2012). According to Education Counts (2004), New Zealand is mostly perceived as a country that has natural beauty and scenery. Activities such as whale watching or bungee jumping demonstrate distinctive tourist attractions in New Zealand. They are often marketed mainly to individuals and smallgroup travellers through television commercials, brochures and online advertisements. Tourism New Zealand, the official tourism promotion agency of the country, promotes the New Zealand worldwide as a tourist destination. Campaign activities include a NZ$7 million promotion in China, focussed on Shanghai, and the creation of a New Zealand tourism level for Google Earth, the first country to obtain such a facility (Hembry, 2007). 1.6. Urban transformation of Auckland, New Zealand In the last two decades, Auckland has seen significant change in the composition of the city (Larner, Molloy, & Goodrum, 2007). These changes include economic change from production to consumption and services, quick demographic changes resulting from new relocation flows (Friesen, 2000). and remarkable physical changes in the environment (Murphy, 2003). International export and migration education has had a remarkable impact on Auckland, with fast-growing, multi-ethnic communities and large numbers of comparatively well-to-do, style-conscious Asian youth further fostering new prototypes of consumption. Collins (2006) asserts a view that the scenery changes in the physical environment of Auckland also often link the internationalisation of education with what is bluntly viewed as the “Asianisation of downtown Auckland.” In another words, Auckland has slowly transformed into an urban city where Chinese stores and restaurants are seen everywhere. It is also common to see large numbers of Asians walking down the streets of Auckland. For Chinese students who want to experience western culture, Auckland may no longer be able to provide such experience due to the influence of the large number of Asian people (Butcher et al., 2008). It is often seen and known in the outside world that New Zealand is considered to be a green and scenic country (Vertical News, 2012) and, because of this, it is likely that some Chinese students chose New Zealand to complete their education and at the same time experience such an environment. However, the students may not be able to experience the “green and natural beauty” around Auckland as it has been “studentified”. According to Collins (2010), the term studentification is used to describe “the distinct social, cultural, economic and physical transformations within university towns, which are connected with the seasonal, in-migration of higher education students” (p. 941). This means that the process of studentification has occurred simultaneously with changes to residential landscapes through conversion and new-build developments, and with changing local retail and leisure facilities providing gradually for students and their distinctive lifestyles (Collins, 2010; Hubbard, 2009). This may affect the experiences of Auckland for Chinese students because they might have expected to have been living in a rural area, where “green and natural beauty” can be seen and experienced. However, the facilities provided in Auckland may contrast with these expectations as Chinese students experience a high urbanised and Asian dominated inner city environment. Design/Plan of the Study: Provide a brief outline of the potential methodology and methods/research technique(s) to be employed in the study. 2.1 Overall aim The overall aim for this research is to gain insights into the differences, after having studied at an Auckland tertiary institution, between the pre-arrival expectations of Chinese students and their actual experiences. To achieve this aim the following research questions will be explored: 1. What were the perceptions of Chinese students before they arrived in New Zealand to study in Auckland? 2. What are their experiences while studying in Auckland? 3. How do their perceptions differ (or are consistent with) their pre-arrival expectations? 4. Is destination image as portrayed by New Zealand part of the reason why students chose to study in Auckland? 2.2. Ontological and epistemological perspective An inductive approach to research is adopted as the ontological perspective for this study. This is from the interpretive paradigm and considers the world as having multiple realities (Creswell, 2013; Jennings, 2010). Ontology is concerned with the state of being (Poli & Seibt, 2010). It is concerned with the way objects, events and reality are perceived and interpreted (Lichtman, 2013). Because the aim for this research is to gain insights into the different perceptions of Auckland, New Zealand by students before and after their arrival from China, an inductive, interpretive approach is appropriate. The thoughts and feelings and, most importantly, the perceptions of the study participants are relative constructs and, as a consequence, an interpretive paradigm is adopted. Epistemology is the theory of knowledge (Gray, 2009; Opie & Sikes, 2004). A subjectivist epistemology is concerned with the relationship between the researcher and the subject of their research (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2008). A researcher should have close ties with the subject to allow him/her to make inductions as the research progresses. In order to understand the perceptions from individuals, there is a need to approach the Chinese students to explore their view. A subjectivist researcher is able to interact with those in the research to try to induce key aspects of his/her research that may provide insights into the perceptions and views of the participants in the study (Schwartz-Shea & Yanow, 2012). Close proximity to the research process allows the researcher to have an overview of the whole process and get a clearer understanding of the data collected which helps in making inductions. Understanding the data collected and the process of the research helps ensure the research is credible and can improve the trustworthiness of the data collected (Grant & Giddings, 2002). Thus in this study, adopting the interpretive paradigm is more suitable in order to learn and know the perceptions and experiences of Chinese international stude
nts towards Auckland, New Zealand. 2.3. Data collection Data will be collected by using semi-structured interviews. This method has been chosen because interviewing delivers empirical data about the social world by encouraging people to talk about their lives (Berg, 2007; Opie & Sikes, 2004; Silverman, 2004). In this study, interviewing allows the Chinese students to share their experiences, emotions and thoughts. According to Opie and Sikes (2004), interviews encourage respondents to develop their own ideas, feelings, insights, expectations or attitudes. Interviews allow respondents to state their thoughts and do so with greater richness. Using interviews as a data collection method is also useful because respondents might not be fluent in the language of the country in which they are studying (Gray, 2009). For example, some Chinese students might find it difficult to express themselves using English, particularly students who are here to complete their English studies. The researcher can conduct the interview in either English or Mandarin Chinese based on the interviewee’s preference. Interviewee can also choose to interview with a mix of English and Mandarin Chinese if they are comfortable, and also may allow them to describe better when they are using both languages. Another advantage in using semi-structured interviews is that it encourages two-way communication, generates a large amount of information, and is flexible, sensitive and fairly reliable. In a qualitative study there are no rules regarding sample size (Andrade, 2009; Lichtman, 2013), rather the goal in a qualitative research is not to generalize but to describe and interpret (Lichtman, 2013). For this research, a minimum of six Chinese students will be interviewed using open-ended questions regarding their perceptions of Auckland, their motivation for choosing New Zealand as their study destination, and their experiences of the country. In this study Chinese students who have been in Auckland for less than a year will be chosen for the interviews as these students are still new to Auckland. It is considered that Chinese students who have been here for more than one year are more likely to have adapted to the environment. Age will also be considered and the interviewees will be between the ages of 18–25 years since it is possible to find students in this age group at university level for interviewing. The interview will take approximately 20–40 minutes and will be audio-recorded. Recording the process of the interview is advisable as it will be easier for the researcher to manage and retrieve any needed data (Marshall & Rossman, 2006). Interviewees will each be given a $20 dollar Countdown gift voucher for participating in this research. 2.4. Sampling Two types of sampling will be adopted in this study. Firstly, convenience sampling will be used because of the availability of subjects, namely those who are nearby or easily accessible (Altinay & Paraskevas, 2008; Berg, 2007; Jennings, 2010). For this study, Chinese students will be asked if they are willing to participate in this research by taking part in an interview. The advantage of adopting convenience sampling is that this strategy is an appropriate method of getting preliminary information about a research question quickly and inexpensively (Marshall & Rossman, 2006). Secondly, purposive sampling is being adopted in this study as well since participants are being handpicked from the available group (Altinay & Paraskevas, 2008; Jennings, 2010). In this case, interviewees will be chosen from Chinese students will be the primary target. The use of purposive sampling is appropriate because the study focusses on the perceptions that Chinese students have of Auckland and their experiences. Purposive sampling is best suited when the population being studied is believed to be more appropriate, in this case, having the experiences and thoughts relevant to the questions being researched, when compared to others (Altinay & Paraskevas, 2008; Jennings, 2010). 2.5. Data analysis Interviews will be transcribed by the researcher in both languages. Interviews conducted in Mandarin Chinese will be transcribed in Mandarin Chinese and will be translated by the researcher. Thematic analysis will be used in this research and this method is widely employed by researchers undertaking qualitative research (Braun & Clarke, 2006). By using this method of analysis, the researcher analyses the data for particular themes, aggregating information into large clusters of ideas and providing details that support the themes (Braun & Clarke, 2006; Creswell, 2013). The use of thematic analysis not only organises the data and provides details, but at times goes further by interpreting various aspects of the research topic (Braun & Clarke, 2006). In other words, it is possible to generate more information by thematically analysing the data obtained from the interview.
|Research Paradigm||Define research paradigm
Ontological: An inductive approach to research is adopted as the ontological perspective for this study. This is from the interpretive paradigm and considers the world as having multiple realities (Creswell, 2013; Jennings, 2010). Ontology is concerned with the state of being (Poli & Seibt, 2010). It is concerned with the way objects, events and reality are perceived and interpreted (Lichtman, 2013). Because the aim for this research is to gain insights into the different perceptions of Auckland, New Zealand by students before and after their arrival from China, an inductive, interpretive approach is appropriate. The thoughts and feelings and, most importantly, the perceptions of the study participants are relative constructs and, as a consequence, an interpretive paradigm is adopted.
Epistemological: Epistemology is the theory of knowledge (Gray, 2009; Opie & Sikes, 2004). A subjectivist epistemology is concerned with the relationship between the researcher and the subject of their research (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, & Jackson, 2008). A researcher should have close ties with the subject to allow him/her to make inductions as the research progresses. In order to understand the perceptions from individuals, there is a need to approach the Chinese students to explore their view. A subjectivist researcher is able to interact with those in the research to try to induce key aspects of his/her research that may provide insights into the perceptions and views of the participants in the study (Schwartz-Shea & Yanow, 2012). Close proximity to the research process allows the researcher to have an overview of the whole process and get a clearer understanding of the data collected which helps in making inductions. Understanding the data collected and the process of the research helps ensure the research is credible and can improve the trustworthiness of the data collected (Grant & Giddings, 2002). Thus in this study, adopting the interpretive paradigm is more suitable in order to learn and know the perceptions and experiences of Chinese international students towards Auckland, New Zealand.
**What is knowledge? (Matthews & Ross, 2010, p.20)**
Social constructivism (which is often described as interpretivism (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011; Mertens, 2010)) is another worldview. In social constructivism, individuals seek understanding of the world in which they live and work. They develop subjective meanings of their experiences – meanings directed toward certain objects or things. These meanings are varied and multiple, leading the researcher to look for the complexity of views rather than narrow the meanings into a few categories or ideas. The goal of research, then, is to rely as much as possible on the participants’ views of the situation. Often these subjective meanings are negotiated socially and historically. In other words, they are not simply imprinted on individuals but are formed through interaction with others and through historical and cultural norms that operate in individuals’ lives. Rather than starting with a theory, inquirers generate or inductively develop a theory or pattern of meaning (Creswell, 2013).
|Data Collection Technique||
Advantages of recording an interview
Definition of Data
|Interview Process: Recruitment and Procedures||
*interview guide is designed to help the researcher to conduct semi-structured interview, the guide act an agenda for the interview with additional notes and features to aid the researcher (Matthews & Ross, 2010).*
The interview guide (Matthews & Ross, 2010, p.227):
|Data Analysis||Introduction: Thematic Analysis
Themes: central issues or concepts that a researcher identifies based on coding original data. Most research data can be organized in five or six themes (Lichtman, 2013).
Themes: in qualitative research (also called categories) are broad units of information that consist of several codes aggregated to form a common idea (Creswell, 2013)
Steps on Thematic Analysis
|Ethical Considerations||What is ethics?
Codes of ethics usually entail the following key items (Jennings, 2010):
What is ethical behavior?
Data collection procedures
- It is important to remember that research relationships are two-sided and that the people who are being ‘researched’ will make their own interpretations of what is going on, regardless of researchers’ intentions (Opie & Sikes, 2004).
- It is ethical practice to ensure that participants are given as much information as possible and as they require (Opie & Sikes, 2004).
- Deductive reasoning works from the general to the specific. In contrast, qualitative research deals with specifics and moves to the general (Lichtman, 2013).
- Natural settings are preferred when talking to people or observing them. Interviews can be conducted in the home or office of the participant, or by phone (Lichtman, 2013).
- Locations should be quiet and private, to the extent possible (Lichtman, 2013).
- A bias is a preference that inhibits impartial judgement (Lichtman, 2013).
- Prejudice in favour, or against, a group individual, perspective etc (Matthews & Ross, 2010).
- In qualitative research, researcher bias and subjectivity are accepted and inevitable – it is not seen as negative (Lichtman, 2013).
- A trial run or an opportunity to try out a data collection method on a small sample of cases before the main research data gathering takes place; question wording, research participant understanding and data collection procedures can all be tried out and amended if necessary before the main research stage (Matthews & Ross, 2010, p.65).
- Interpretation in qualitative research involves abstracting out beyond the codes and themes to the larger meaning of the data. It is a process that begins with (Creswell, 2013).
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