"I tried to spell it out in Google, similar to what I heard, but I failed."
Zhang turns to those near her ask for the meaning of words.
Difficulty spelling searches is a common pattern for questions about words.
For cultural questions, students are asking other Chinese people on message boards. The information is not located in a central source that is easy to navigate.
" I thought I knew English before I came."
The apps available to Zhang don't solve the conversational language gap.
Without tools to improve their interactions, Chinese students are frequently returning to the comfort of fellow Chinese students, and isolating themselves in a bubble.
"It's more about behavior than what language to use."
Zhang uses interactions with American peers to learn and mirror behavior.
The benefits of listening to pronunciation and watching behaviors, translate to apps too. Students are drawn to audio and visual content for the added meaning they provide.