This chapter documents one woman’s attempts to escape the Chinese-student lingua-cultural ‘bubble’ in Sydney, Australia. The story starts in China, where Li describes the system’s implied goal of test taking rather than communicative competence. In contrast, she ‘dabbles’ online, finding ways to build competence and confidence in order to one day integrate into an English-medium environment. This is her dream.

Eventually she is accepted into a master’s degree and makes it to Sydney, where she expects to integrate smoothly. Instead, though, she finds herself in a ‘Chinese bubble’, among fellow nationals who mock those who use English. The strategies she finds for breaking out of this ‘bubble’ are discussed in this paper.