Xu Zhang


The group of Chinese overseas students has become a very important part of the cross-border communication group. The number of Chinese students studying in the UK continues to increase. For foreign students from other countries, constructing a new social network is a key step for them to obtain necessary help and support to carry out their new study and life. This thesis takes Chinese international students studying at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom as an example, using the ethnographic research methods of participatory observation and in-depth interviews to explore the process of Chinese international students building their social networks through social media (WeChat) in a cross-cultural environment, and through thematic analysis to decode their behaviour strategies to reveal the characteristic of social capital within a cultural context. The thesis points out the three stages of the construction of the social network of Chinese international students at Plymouth University: establishing their new network through direct and indirect methods, selectively developing and maintaining guanxi, obtaining necessary helps and supports by mobilising social resources in the network. In the process of network construction, the specific behavioural strategies of Chinese students are a mixture of instrumental and emotional motivations. In order to better adapt to the local society, the guanxi model of Chinese international students shown new features to accessing and mobilising social resources through social media. In the author's view, this new guanxi model present the characteristic of social capital within guanxi context, which namely: guanxi 2.0

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