Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Political Science


Ming Xia

Subject Categories

International Relations


Impact, overseas study experiences, Chinese students in the United States, attitude, value, identity


The extent to which overseas study experiences increase Chinese students’ positive attitude toward the United States has triggered debates because of Chinese government’ overwhelming influence on Chinese students studying overseas, the instability of U.S.-China relations and the especially complex characteristics of Chinese students’ attitudes themselves. I will use value theory, belief system theory, and self-categorization theory to explain the unstable character of these attitudes, and the important roles of values and identity that determine attitudes’ change. After making three key hypotheses based on these theories, this paper conducts a survey on three groups of Chinese students both in China and the United States. A comparative analysis finds that overseas study experience in the US significantly increases Chinese students’ overall positive attitudes toward the US. Moreover, attitudes that imply students’ identification with American values have changed dramatically and have the greatest impact on students’ overall attitudes toward the US, more so than other major factors. Finally, this paper finds that transnational identity change has weakened the CPC’s ability of controlling students’ thoughts. The findings of this research can provide a new perspective for thinking about new measurement methods of soft power competition between great powers.