Language learning challenges of overseas students

Grace Chu-Lin Chang

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    In February 2011, my husband and I moved from Taiwan to Sydney to pursue our PhD studies. Excited about coming to Australia for the first time, we were keen to try out our English and immerse ourselves in the English language community, even speaking with an Australian accent. However, after a few weeks in Sydney I began to wonder where I could immerse myself in English, let alone English with an Australian accent. For one thing, most of the new people I met seemed to be from mainland China. Once they knew I was from Taiwan, they tended to speak to me in Mandarin. Due to the popularity of Taiwanese TV variety shows in China, some were keen to talk to me about the shows that they had watched, and having these fun conversations in English seemed an unlikely proposition. For another thing, when I walked from my unit to the campus, which took about 30 minutes, along the way I frequently overheard Mandarin, while seeing many Mandarin advertisements for renting and trading goods posted on the electric poles. The Mandarin language was used much more widely in Sydney than I had ever expected.
    Original languageEnglish
    Specialist publicationLanguage on the move
    PublisherLanguage on the move
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2016

    Bibliographical note

    Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • 200401 applied linguistics and educational linguistics
    • 200405 language in culture and society (sociolinguistics)


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