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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Yu, Y. & Moskal, M. (2019). Why do Christian churches, and not universities, facilitate intercultural engagement for Chinese international students? International Journal of Intercultural Relations 68: 1-12.

Author(s) from Durham


The paper offers new, significant insights into the Church engagement experiences of Chinese international students in the UK. Based on a mixed-method research and focusing on a group of international Chinese students participating in local Christian churches, it explores the motivations (for), dynamics and types of connections students establish and maintain with the church communities, and the implications for stakeholders in facilitating intercultural engagement with the local community. The limited cross-cultural interactions alongside other structural and contextual factors often deprive meaningful engagement between international students and host nationals within the campus. According to the research participants, internationalised university is promising and promoting intercultural experiences but not delivering them. Chinese students of usually non-Christian background gravitate towards Christian churches as alternative places to gain desired intercultural experiences. The findings encourage universities to reflect on the quality of intercultural engagement for international students and draw from the reciprocal and respectful intercultural connections that some students discovered through engaging with Christian churches.

School of Education