Frontiers of Education in China

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 193–215 | Cite as

Interculturality, Identity, and Power: Experiences of Volunteer Chinese Teachers at Overseas Confucius Institutes

  • Donghui ZhangEmail author
Research Article


With the rapid expansion of Confucius Institutes globally, the Hanban launched a Volunteer Chinese Teachers (VCT) Program with the purpose of selecting a large number of college graduates and graduate students from Chinese universities to fill vacancies for overseas Chinese teachers. In spite of the multitude of students participating in the program, there has been a paucity of research attention on them. How do these students, most of whom have never been abroad before, manage their life in their host country and negotiate their new role as a VCT in an overseas Confucius Institute? What are their intercultural experiences as they venture into a new country to serve as a native teacher of Chinese? Based on in-depth interviews with a dozen VCTs teaching in linguistically and culturally different contexts, this study seeks to examine the dynamics of interculturality, identity and power relations involved in their overseas language teaching.


Volunteer Chinese Teachers (VCT) Confucius Institute intercultural experiences native teachers of Chinese 


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I would like to express special thanks to Professor Fred Dervin, University of Helsinki, for his valuable comments and detailed suggestions on the earlier versions of the manuscript. I would also like to thank my master student, Jiang Xiandi, at School of Education, Renmin University of China, for her contributions and efforts in the data collection of the study.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationRenmin University of ChinaBeijingChina

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