With growing numbers of Chinese students entering Western universities, cultural understanding is of increasing importance, not least in higher education. Without a good understanding of the academic conventions of Western universities, Chinese students, and undergraduates in particular, are at a disadvantage in the multi-cultural classroom. Lack of knowledge of structural influences on higher education, including teacher-student relations, reference management practices, and assessment procedures, are likely to lead to failure and disappointment. This paper, which is based on writing workshops conducted at Beijing University and in Sweden (Kristianstad University and Linnaeus University) in 2014, focuses primarily on writing practices and conventions because written texts are the main means of assessment in higher education. Addressing four key problems encountered by Chinese undergraduate writers in Western universities, namely lack of familiarity with the structure of academic papers, lack of focus on relevant issues, copying and pasting without giving proper reference, and inadequate understanding and mastery of the conventions of academic English, this paper argues for greater awareness of cultural differences between the Chinese and Western systems of education. Not until this has been achieved can Chinese students realize their full potential at Western universities.
- Humaniora och konst (6)