UBC Graduate Research

Cultural Learning and Adaptation while Working for a Chinese Public School Yakiwchuk, Erin


Three years ago I began a journey of learning. What started off as a difficult adjustment to a new work and living environment in Beijing China ended up being a very rich experience that allowed me to absolutely enjoy my life in my new place of work and residence. The purpose of this paper, which is divided into four main sections, is to explore and reflect on my process of becoming culturally competent within my new environment. I begin by briefly describing how I came to work in China, followed by a discussion of my context, which I consider through the lens of internationalization, privatization and globalization of education within China. I then explore my experience through a variety of sociocultural theoretical frameworks, including the development of culture, communities of practice and identity. This is used to view and explain the process of learning, primarily using Fenwick’s (2001) situative perspective and critical cultural perspective. Finally, I provide suggestions and recommendations for similar work environments.

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