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English or Chinese as medium of instruction? International students’ perceptions and practices in Chinese universities: Exploring international students’ perceptions and reported practices with regard to English and Chinese as mediums of instruction in parallel programs in Chinese universities

  • Zhongyan Wan and Xuesong Gao

Medium of instruction (‘MOI’) issues have long been identified as the most important decisions in the internationalization of higher education (HE) (Hamid, Nguyen & Baldauf, 2013). The adoption of internationally influential languages as MOIs may attract international students who aspire to undertake higher education in these languages, which in turn helps to sustain the status of these languages as internationally influential. Among all these languages, English is certainly the most powerful academic lingua franca and boosted by its use as MOI in globally leading universities worldwide. However, the elevated position of English in international higher education seems not without competition, as many governments in non-English-speaking countries have made efforts to internationalize their higher education by providing parallel higher learning programs both with English and with their native language (usually the official language) for international students. For instance, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), in which it first promoted higher education in the medium of German and later expanded to the medium of English in the 2000s, plays a critical role in attracting and recruiting international students to study in German universities (e.g. Erling & Hilgendorf, 2006).

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English Today
  • ISSN: 0266-0784
  • EISSN: 1474-0567
  • URL: /core/journals/english-today
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