“They are friendly but they don’t want to be friends with you”: A narrative inquiry into Chinese nursing students’ learning experience in Australia

Carol Chunfeng Wang, Lisa Whitehead, Sara Bayes


There is increasing interest in the phenomena of international student mobility and the growing global demand for skilled nurses. Little is known, however, about the learning experiences of Chinese nursing students at Australian universities. This study begins to address this gap. A narrative inquiry methodology was employed. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions, along with field notes and observations were conducted with six Chinese undergraduate nursing students studying undergraduate nursing in Western Australia. Chinese nursing students in Australia experienced fear and anxiety, driven by unfamiliarity with the hospital environment, education methods, and assessment expectations. Clinical placement experiences in Australian health services were identified by participants as the most stressful learning experience. Forming friendships with domestic students was difficult and rare for these students: none made friends with local students or joined university groups. Despite the challenges they experienced, the participants were motivated and adaptive to a new culture and learning methods, and all, demonstrated academic success. This study provides new knowledge about the learning experiences of Chinese nursing students at Australian universities. Many of the issues identified relate to the wider discussion around effective support for international students.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v7n8p27

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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