Factors influencing the higher education of international students from Confucian East Asia
Choi, Serene H. -J. and Nieminen, Timo A. (2013) Factors influencing the higher education of international students from Confucian East Asia. Higher Education Research and Development, 322: 161-173. doi:10.1080/07294360.2012.673165
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Higher education, especially that leading to a degree from a high-prestige university, is strongly related to social status and employment opportunities in East Asian countries. This is a consequence of both traditional Confucian attitudes to education and the social and economic changes accompanying industrialisation. Since the number of places available at high-prestige universities is limited, competition is intense. Successful entry to such a university is not only an important achievement for the future career of the student, but also a victory for the family. In contrast, failure to do so is often seen as shameful for the family, sometimes resulting in psychological problems or suicide. This background affects the international education of East Asian students, who often have a high level of family support, with correspondingly high expectations of their success. Motives for international study vary, from avoidance of the hyper-competitive domestic system, pursuit of an overseas degree as an ‘easy option’ of moderate prestige, to an expectation of more up-to-date teaching and content. Understanding this background can be a first step for Australian or other Western educators to better meet the needs of East Asian international students and to attract students from East Asia in the long term.