Tian Xu (Tianna)

Department: College of Social Sciences and International Studies
Discipline: Education
Research Centre/Unit: Social Communication

Project Summary

Since international sojourners continue to grow in numbers worldwide, it is of great importance for scholars, researchers and educators to discover ways to make the abroad experience more fruitful. A large volume of recent studies has sought to capture the lived experience of international students in English speaking countries. Despite international volunteers can be valuable participants for research in the intercultural communication field, yet, to the best of my knowledge, there are only several studies focus on international volunteers and no research in this area with a special focus only on international volunteers from Mainland China.  Moreover, seldom research has been carried out focusing on the intercultural experiences of individuals from mainland China sojourning in non-English speaking countries.

Additionally, international sojourners face many of the same intercultural issues in this increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, since little research has been done to focus on real-world intercultural interaction, the findings could potentially provide depth new insight into the overall diversity picture for working and communicating in a culturally and linguistically diverse group.

This study will add to the small, but significant body of literature on the role that international volunteers experience intercultural interaction in non-English speaking countries. Specifically, this research project focuses on exploring international volunteers from Mainland China’ lived experiences of intercultural interaction resulting from their overseas volunteering projects. This research also aims to:

  • To identify the perceived significance of these experiences to their understanding of intercultural interaction
  • To explore participants’ perceived barriers and benefits to intercultural interaction
  • To identify intercultural competencies needed by individuals from Mainland China to communicate with culturally and linguistically different people
  • To provide practical suggestions of developing intercultural competences

Supervisory Team

My PhD thesis was examined by Professor Vivienne Baumfield and Dr Karin Zotzmann. My supervisors are Dr Esmaeel Abdollahzade and Dr Hania Salter-Dvorak. 

Wider Research Interests

Social Communication/Psychology

Hybrid Workplace

Higher Education Internationalisation

Social Mobility

Digital Educationion