Investing in English-mediated practices in the EMI university : The case of cross-border mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

View graph of relations

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Article number102919
Journal / PublicationLingua
Online published8 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


This paper reports findings of a qualitative study on a group of cross-border mainland Chinese students’ English learning experiences in an English medium instruction (EMI) university in Hong Kong. It focuses on their investments in English-mediated practices in the university context, with particular attention to the mediating role of identity, capital and ideology in their second language (L2) investments. Findings indicate that the participants were invested in L2 practices for academic purposes by leveraging their cultural capital to speak and practise their L2 in the classroom, which enabled them to construct desirable academic identities as competent university students. However, their L2 investments for social purposes were somewhat constrained by their lack of necessary cultural capital to secure access to L2 interactional opportunities outside the classroom. Findings also suggest that their differential levels of investments in different L2 practices during their cross-border studies appeared to be shaped by their exercise of agency to invest or otherwise in particular identities and forms of capital and mediated by multiple ideologies with respect to the role of English as the world language, native-speakerism, and cultural differences.

Research Area(s)

  • Cross-border studies, Hong Kong, Investment, Mainland Chinese students, Second language learning