Navigating New Worlds: The Role of English Proficiency in the Social Integration of Chinese International Students at UCLA

Rista White, Yue Yu (Elena), Nadia Ruiz, Brianna Sobrero, Ruby Jimenez

The present study investigated whether Chinese international students (CIS) attending the University of California, Los Angeles, with high self-reported English proficiency, experience easier social integration and comfortably form more friendships with domestic students. CISs comprise the largest group of international students at UCLA, and this considerable demographic experiences various unique sociolinguistic challenges while adjusting to American university life. To answer this question, we analyzed 13 questionnaire responses that we received from individuals who identified as CISs attending UCLA. Subsequently, four respondents agreed to interviews where we learned more about their personal experiences. The findings show that greater self-reported English competence among UCLA CISs positively correlates with easier social integration and a wider variety of friendships. Given the growing population and trend of international study, these findings are helpful for the university and student organizations to consider when creating programs to improve the experience of CISs attending UCLA.

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