Nature and Effectiveness of Online Social Support for Intercultural Adaptation of Mainland Chinese International Students
Many mainland Chinese students have flocked to universities or colleges in Singapore. Inevitably, these students encounter difficulties adapting to their new lives. An online social support group called Living in Singapore Group (LSg), a subforum of the most popular forum on Chinese international study created in April 2000, provides various types of social-support messages for mainland Chinese students in Singapore. The present research explores the nature and effectiveness of these social-support messages. Study 1 uses a directed qualitative content analysis to analyze 1,736 posted messages collected from July 6, 2012, to February 6, 2013. Results suggest that social support messages can be categorized into subcategories of three existing main categories (informational, instrumental, and emotional) and a new category (network support). Study 2 conducts in-depth interviews with 21 LSg members from May 15, 2013, to July 15, 2013. Results demonstrate that social support messages provided by this group are effective in helping mainland Chinese international students to adjust to their new lives in Singapore.