Surviving and Thriving: Navigating the Doctoral Trajectory
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As indicated in Chap. 3, this study develops its analysis around the planning, implementing, and reflecting phases of the Chinese doctoral students’ (CDS) study experience. Having shed light on the CDS’ motives, decision-making, and preparation in the planning phase in Chap. 4, this chapter is devoted to reporting findings from the implementing phase, focusing on how they navigate their cross-cultural adaptation (CCA) within the “ABC” model. Conflating critical incident technique (CIT) and visual graphics, this chapter delineates the CCA under three interlocked themes, viz. emotional wellbeing, behavioural coping, and researcher identification, respectively corresponding to affective, behavioural, and cognitive categories. The analysis supported that the CDS’ CCA was experienced as a cyclical and recurring process of stress-coping circumscribed by individual and situational variables that gave rise to a fluctuation of emotional wellbeing along their doctoral trajectory. Further, the CDS adopted varied coping strategies in order not only to be functional participants with adequate operational skills in the alien academic nexus, but also to be proactive agents optimising the host environment to hone their intercultural competence. Last, while the CDS affirmed doctoral study as an essentially independent enterprise, they kept cultivating membership in the research community via social identification with a researcher. An elaborated illumination of each part is detailed in the following sections.
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