Research on heritage language and cultural identity development has been traditionally focused on language learners, leaving other international expatriates’ perspectives unexplored. This article attempts to bridge this gap by investigating a group of international scholars from Mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan residing in Northern Ireland with regard to the effects, perceptions, and experiences of engaging in a community of practice within a religious ethnic community institution. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed through a thematic analysis based on the participants’ identified perceptions as the basis for data interpretation. The findings point to several salient conceptualizations such as multilingualism, multiculturalism, heritage cultural identity, and academic as well as social acculturation that have all played an essential role in sustaining their shared ethnicity through such a mutual engagement. Their language and cultural identities are also revealed to be shaped and reshaped from various collaborative efforts in the same community. The assumed paradigm of bilingualism and biculturalism has thus been shifted to multilingualism and multiculturalism during this process predicated on their reoriented language and cultural identities as well as academic and social spheres.
- community of practice
- international scholars
- Religious ethnic community institution
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Linguistics and Language