A Dialogue with the Past: Thinking Through Lifestyle Choices
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In this chapter, I report the key findings concerning Chinese international doctoral students’ choice, motivations and decision making in relation to study abroad. This chapter explores how Chinese doctoral students’ decision to study abroad shapes their self-identity. After the introduction section, I present students’ stories to illustrate how they construct and maintain a robust “choice biography” of self-actualisation. Students’ stories demonstrate that their decision to study in the UK is shaped by different motivations. I conclude that participants’ narratives suggest that they are autonomous, self-determined agents whose decisions to study abroad are lifestyle choices, guided by their different goals of self-actualisation and personal development. The students’ active management of their life trajectories disrupts common understandings of Chinese students as a homogeneous group of “passive” learners.
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