The disquieting tension of ‘the other’: international students’ experience of sojourn in Hong Kong

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research has shown that increasing the number of international students and staff in universities does not necessarily make the campus more ‘international’. Ladegaard and Cheng (2014) found that local and non-local students live completely separate lives on campus and do not work together, let alone socialise, unless forced to do so by their teachers. This article argues that one of the major obstacles for successful integration between local and non-local students is negative outgroup stereotypes and prejudice. It reports on an ongoing study of international students’ experience of sojourn in Hong Kong. The article analyses examples from informal group discussions among non-local students, and the examples show that for some students, meeting ‘the other’ has been associated with disquieting tension more than anything. Despite their commitment to the intercultural endeavour, they feel their integration has been inhibited by their own or other students’ prejudice. The article suggests that intercultural dialogue, which addresses taboos and painful issues and seeks compromises, and the courage to criticise our own and other people's ethnocentric discourses, should be the way forward if local and non-local students are to integrate and work together in meaningful ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-282
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2017


  • exchange
  • intercultural dialogue
  • intergroup conflict
  • International education
  • prejudice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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