As COVID-19 drastically affects cross-border mobility, virtual mobility emerges as a viable alternative to cope with the crisis. This article reports on the integrated findings of an exploratory sequential mixed methods design to understand benefits and challenges of virtual mobility at a Chinese university and future projection of outbound student mobility. The mixed methods design used in this study is characterized by an initial quantitative phase of data collection and analysis, followed by a phase of qualitative data collection and analysis, with a final phase of integration or linking of data from the two separate strands of data. The study suggests Chinese students appreciate the flexibility and economic advantages of virtual mobility but also express concerns on several limitations. Online mobility may be viewed as a complement or alternative for Chinese institutions when the COVID-19 crisis is over. As Chinese universities are promoting internationalization at home, the number of virtual programmes available to Chinese students will surge. In this context, coupled with the stress of geopolitical instability, the growth in Chinese student mobility may be entering a period of contraction, which may exert profound impacts on a global scale.
新冠肺炎疫情严重影响了学生跨境流动。本文采用探索性顺序混合方法学设计, 以问卷调查和访谈形式, 对一所中国顶尖高校进行案例研究, 了解线上交流优势以及存在的问题。结果显示受访者对后疫情线上交流依然表现出积极的态度。结合地缘政治形势,文章分析中 国学生跨境流动的增长将进入收缩期, 并会在全球范围内产生深远影响。