Since the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, its relationship with foreigners living and working in China has drastically changed in regard to numbers and influence. It was not until the mid-1980s that foreigners living in China were granted mobility and access to non-restricted zones. The numbers of foreigners moving to China has been increasing each year. China is changing on many levels, such as economic reforms brought about by joining the World Trade Organization. An increase of Chinese speaking and studying English and new generations of adults (products of the one child policy) are two of many variables influencing China and its relationship with other nations.

In order to better understand the relationship between foreigners in China and the Chinese, this research spotlighted the researcher’s experience as a foreign educator in China working with Chinese college students by asking: What factors and values motivate the Chinese college student to pursue higher education? Supported by a sub-question: Does the Chinese college student display “modern values” with distinctly Chinese characteristics? In using data from ten surveys completed by ten Chinese college students, this research attempts to answer these inquiries.

Through the use of Grounded Theory, this research introduces the theory of Cognitive Preparation suggesting that Chinese students have become cognizant of a modern promise in China and its influence upon values and education. This research also provides a platform for further inquiry in China and other “developing” countries and for aiding non-Chinese educators in Chinese colleges attempting to better understand the Chinese college student, thus allowing the educator to better serve and learn from the student.


Educational Psychology | International and Comparative Education