The learning experience of Chinese postgraduate students in a Lithuanian university: the role of teachers

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Lasauskienė, Jolanta
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Valencia : IATED Academy
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The trend for internationalization of higher education in many institutions around the world, including those of Lithuania, is increasing with the current wave of globalization. The main challenge of international higher education institutions is how to manage intercultural diversity and overcome intercultural learning challenges. The purpose of this study is to obtain a clearer picture of how Chinese postgraduate students (prospective music educators) perceive their learning experiences in the new learning environment at Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania (before the COVID-19 pandemic and the current geopolitical climate). Among international students on university campuses in Lithuania, students from China do not comprise the most considerable group of foreign students. Moreover, this study focuses on a specific group of Chinese postgraduate students in the field of social sciences (music education). The intercultural learning experiences of these students have been almost invisible in the literature. Interviews were conducted with 15 Chinese students and 5 Lithuanian university professors, music educators. The themes in the collected data were identified and analysed using a qualitative thematic analysis. This study reveals that Chinese students studying in Lithuania had a variety of experiences that the students found quite challenging. However, their expression of academic adjustment varied between individual students. The interview data indicate that the main challenge for Chinese postgraduate students during their academic adjustment was to deal with the cultural diversity and different perceptions of the teaching and learning process within their own culture and within the culture of their host country, which has both positive and negative effects. Generally, Chinese students enjoyed their studies in Lithuania regardless of whether they had faced any challenges or not. Our findings also draw attention to the importance of the university music educator’s role, ability, actions and cultural interpretations in intercultural teaching of students from different cultural backgrounds.
Lithuanian higher education, Chinese postgraduate students, Academic adjustment, Learning experience