Doctor of Philosophy candidate
His PhD research will be the first New Zealand study investigating Chinese migrants’ experiences of school transition, says Kevin Zhong who came to AUT from China to study a PhD in education.
“My doctoral study investigates Chinese migrant families’ perspectives and experiences regarding their children’s transition from early childhood education to primary school in New Zealand. I chose this topic because both New Zealand and international literature suggested that children’s transition from early childhood education to primary school is significant for their social, emotional and cognitive competences.
“However, in New Zealand, no research has investigated Chinese migrants’ perspectives and experiences regarding school transition. Chinese migrants are one of the largest migrant groups in New Zealand, and to support Chinese migrant children and their families it’s important to hear their voices regarding school transition.”
Supervised by Associate Professor Andrew Gibbons and Dr Chris Jenkin from AUT’s School of Education, Kevin’s research will provide empirical evidence related to Chinese migrant families’ school transition experiences in New Zealand.
“The findings from my study will contribute to education practitioners’ and policy makers’ understanding of the complexity of school transition for cultural minority families.”
Enrolling in a PhD was the logical next step in Kevin’s career.
“Coming from a family of teachers, I’ve been interested in education since I was a child. Choosing this degree seemed natural to me as I had always been passionate about education. Once I complete my doctorate, I’m planning to go back to my country and get a job at a university. I would like to become a scholar.”
He came to AUT based on a recommendation from other students, Kevin says.
“When I was doing a postgraduate diploma in education at another tertiary institute, a couple of my classmates recommended AUT to me. They said that AUT is the best choice for international students as it has an excellent international student support team.”
A sense of belonging
He has enjoyed his PhD journey, Kevin says.
“It has been a tough but exciting process. I’ve really appreciated the support from my supervisors; not only related to academic learning but also related to my emotional wellbeing. That is what makes me feel a sense of belonging and it means a lot to me.”
He would highly recommend doctoral study in education to other students.
“This programme really helps students develop a new understanding of education and knowledge of research.”