An additional challenge highlighted by international students, in their new study environments, is that the learning style is often quite different from the style that they are used to in their home countries [13]. The Asian learning style is very different from the Western learning style.It focuses more on a surface learning approach which is concerned with memorization and reproduction as well as high achievement levels[14]. Asian education systems are more concerned with a teacher-centred approach which is the opposite of a student-centred approach. The teacher-centred approach is a traditional teaching and learning process where knowledge is transmitted to students by a ‘spoon-feeding’ method.

This can result in students being too dependent on teachers to provide all the information for them  This style has a propensity to enable Asian students to academically outperform other students in Western countries in a traditional classroom setting.

However, in Western society there is often a stereotypically negative view of Asian students as passive learners. This stereotype is found in some literature and among many academic staff [17]. Nevertheless, Wong [16]demonstrates that Asian students prefer student-centred styles of learning over the spoon fed methods in their home countries. Nevertheless, there is a big impact on international research students in the process of transitioning from teacher-centered to student-centered learning. They need to become more self-directed and more critical in their approach to conducting research. Thus, international research students do need time to change and adapt to an independent learning style in a new environment.

Cultural Background

Lastly, the different cultural backgrounds of international students may also influence their learning styles in a new country. Wong’s [16] study on Asian international students’ learning styles highlights the premise that students’ learning styles are predetermined by culture. For instance, Chinese international students are commonly categorised as passive learners [16].

They also tend to memorize facts for exam purposes due to the exam orientated culture in their home countries. Meanwhile, culture and language have a close relationship [11]. Cultural differences tend to influence language, learning and understanding.

For example, in Fan’s [11] study, Chinese students are shown to be confused by the use of articles within English vocabulary as there are no articles in Chinese vocabulary. Thus, it is challenging for international research students to adapt to new and unfamiliar cultures

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