Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

G. Zhou


cross-culture, narrative inquiry, reciprocal learning, science teacher candidates



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


To remain competitive in an increasingly global market, particularly with regard to science, Chinese universities increasingly engage in student-exchange programs to learn from Western pedagogical methods. Transformative learning is an ideal approach to maximize such exchanges; however, research on this topic is sparse. Thus, the current study conducted a narrative inquiry involving four Chinese pre-service science teachers, collecting data with the use of field notes, personal journals, and interviews. Results suggest that key barriers included culture shock, isolation, language barriers, undeveloped time-management skills, and limited understanding of Western pedagogical models. Based on these findings, the current study recommends that to maximize the benefits of cultural exchanges, it is critical to ensure students understand the nuances of time management and the transformative learning process so as to maximize their time and critical engagement while abroad. It is likewise recommended that—prior to departure—students learn about Western pedagogical models and struggles related to culture shock. It is also suggested that host schools make continued efforts to facilitate the students’ engagement and offer mental health support throughout the exchange.