Stepping out of their comfort zones: the role of pastoral care in supporting UK students studying in China

David Roxburgh, Huaping Li

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Research highlights that, whilst students often understand the benefits of study abroad, their perceptions of the unfamiliar and uncertainties in host countries can act as a barrier to participation (Santoro, Sosu, and Fassetta, 2016).

Intercultural learning is central to quality study abroad experiences, yet encounters with different cultural norms and practices can push international students too far from their comfort zones, potentially impacting negatively on their engagement and achievement of programme goals (Addleman et al., 2014; Santoro and Major, 2012).

The planned session will be a case study exploring the context of a comparative education experience in China for undergraduate student teachers at a Scottish University, an underreported area of practice within study abroad experiences/ research. As such, this has received funding from the British Council over 2019- 2021 and the presenters will be drawing on first-hand experiences and initial data from students and those running this programme.
Specifically, this session will discuss the concerns and worries of these students at different points in their study abroad experience; examine the impact of well-planned pastoral care in supporting students to step out of their comfort zones and draw upon different perspectives to consider future enhancements in practical ways.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2020
EventEnhancing the International Student Experience: UK, China and Beyond - Beijing, China
Duration: 9 Mar 20209 Mar 2020


ConferenceEnhancing the International Student Experience: UK, China and Beyond


  • study abroad
  • intercultural learning
  • international students
  • support

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