Unpacking the value sought by Chinese international students in UK higher education

David Hattersley, John Nicholson

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The purpose of this paper is to offer multi-dimensional insight into notions of value sought by Chinese international students (CIS), the UK higher education sectors largest overseas student body. Value in the context of student recruitment is often discussed one dimensionally, often as an input-output calculation. Following calls for higher education institutions to better understand the needs and expectations of international students and to adopt strategic management and marketing theory we examine the push and pull factors for Chinese international students drawing on concepts from within the Service-Dominant Logic paradigm such as ‘value-in-context’ and ‘value-in-social-context’ to offer a more nuanced view of value sought. We conduct a qualitative study of 20 Chinese international students, a mix of undergraduate and postgraduate and from a range of subject areas. Our findings highlight a number of different value types sought by Chinese international students each of which can be linked to the development of identity and the key consumer value types of ‘esteem’ and ‘status’. With a greater understanding of the value sought by Chinese international students universities will be better able to develop their recruitment strategies and their provision and support for Chinese international students in order to more effectively co-create that value.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Early online date24 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jan 2024

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