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SINCE 1997
TRAMES cover
TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2021): 0.467
PDF | 10.3176/tr.2022.2.05

Bouchaib Chkaif, Marwan H. Sallam, Minghua Xu, Hanane Thamik

The exponential growth of African students’ mobility to China has become a cause célèbre in China-Africa relations. As of 2018, the African students occupied 16.57% of the international students in China. Against this backdrop, it is imperative to understand the drivers and motivations behind their continuous influx to Chinese higher education institutions. This paper goes beyond the commonly used ‘pull-push’ model and approaches this trend from a holistic perspective provided by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. Through a mixed approach, we explored the impact of the students’ multi-dimensional environment on their decision-making of mobility to China. Data from a survey of 375 participants and 15 interviews showed that the macrosystem had the utmost influence on choosing China as their study destination. It also shows that the economic factors and the pursuit of better education amalgamate the ‘why’ and ‘how’ in the students’ decision-making process. Although they opt for quality education, African students tend to carefully weigh the yearnings and earnings of mobility to China through self-bargaining and self-negotiations. The implications on international students’ mobility are discussed in this article.


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