Comparing First Year Student Transition Experiences

Comparing the First Year Student Transition Experience in the Biomedical Sciences Programme at the University of Edinburgh and Zhejiang University

School:  Edinburgh Medical School   (Biomedical Sciences)

Team Members: Michael Daw, Sofia (Shuanghui) Shan, Deborah Shaw


Recent years have seen a huge expansion of trans-national education (TNE) in higher education (HE) where UK HE institutions are playing an active role worldwide.  China is heading to the top of the host countries importing TNHE from the UK, however, the Chinese home students’ transition experiences in TNE programmes are highly under researched.  Relevant studies regarding international students in English speaking countries and home students who speak English as a second language in English Medium Instruction (EMI) programmes have reported a wide range of challenges for Asian students, most commonly in language barriers and pedagogy adjustment.  However, similar difficulties have been found in home students in English speaking countries at the outset of their study.  Research into the challenges faced by home students in EMI and in English-speaking countries is normally carried out from different perspectives.  This may result in exaggeration of specific types of problems for students expected in a given context, whilst obscuring those which are of lower academic interest.

This project is interested in the first-year academic transition experiences of both cohorts of students.  Mix-methods are used to compare the home students studying in two Biomedical Sciences programmes in the source and host country – UK and China, in order to identify the benefit and challenges of re-enacting a UK degree model in a Mainland Chinese context.  The outcome of the research is expected to contribute to the improvement of both programmes, beneficial to both students and staff, with potential impact on future joint programmes.

Final project report

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Other project outcomes