Date: May 16, 2024 (Thursday)
Time: 10:00 – 10:50 am (HKT)
Mode: Hybrid
Venue: Room 403, Runme Shaw Building, HKU / by Zoom
Speaker: Dr. Soyoung Lee
Chair: Dr. Yang Lili
Online Registration:

International students cross the boundaries of multiple academic cultures and various educational traditions. What is often missing in the discussions of students’ interaction with different educational cultures is ironically the role of academic knowledge. The presentation compares how students navigate their engagement with knowledge in Western and East Asian educational contexts. Assuming that students are agents of their experiences rather than undergoers, their knowledge engagement is examined as academic self-formation in this study. I will report the findings of a multi-sited ethnography on academic self-formation of South Korean students, half of whom studying in Korean universities as local students and the other half in the UK as international students.
The study finds that encountering divergent educational cultures confers students multiple reference points for the mechanism of student agency. By moving between different academic cultures, students in this study intentionally transformed (1) the contexts of knowledge practice; (2) the content of knowledge; and (3) the way in which knowledge is communicated. Facing such variabilities, students retained multiplicity in their academic self-formation rather than pursuing integrity or unity. The study contributes new knowledge about cultural differences in student agency and academic knowledge, whilst enriching cultural diversity in the literature with its findings specific to the Korean tradition of education.

About the speaker
Soyoung Lee has recently completed her PhD at the Department of Education, University of Oxford. Soyoung’s research is fully funded by University of Oxford and her thesis involves comparing international and local higher education as student self-formation by integrating empirical and conceptual approaches. Her research interests involve international students, student agency and cultural differences in higher education.