Zhao, Xian

Hello everyone. My name is Xian Zhao and I am from China. I am very grateful to be part of this amazing community.

I am interested in Intercultural communication, especially the concept of ‘culture’. Personally, I have experienced several ‘cultural shocks’ as my family moved from a small village to a larger town when I was in primary school and then we moved to a city for my high schools. One of the differences I have experienced is about language. Although there is only less than 100km distance from where I was born to the city I studied for my high schools, our dialect is quite different from my city classmates’. Similar experiences occurred when I moved to a city 1000km away for my undergraduate study when I was 18 years old and then four years later when I travelled 8000km to the UK for my master’s degree. One thing I find very important and useful is ‘communication’, which is the key to increase mutual understanding and bridge the gap between individuals. Through communication, I have made friends with more people and learned more about the world.

During my undergraduate study, I majored in English Education and learned different English teaching methods and then I interned in a high school as an English teacher. To become a professional English teacher, I studied MA TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) in Durham University. This is where I become aware of different paradigms such as English as a Foreign language (EFL), English as a Second Language (ESL), English as an International Language (EIL), English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) as well as English for different purposes, for example, English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and English for Specific Purposes (ESP). After I graduated, I worked in China as an English teacher to students who are prepared for IELTS test and studying abroad. Through teaching and reflection, I become more and more interested in the concept of teaching English for Intercultural Communication.

It is this interest in improving understanding of culturally mediated communication along with my master’s study and then English teaching work experience in China have contributed to my decision to conduct a related study. Specifically, I am interested in exploring Chinese students’ intercultural learning experience in a UK university.