This qualitative, ethnographic, multi-case study investigates the learning experiences of Chinese visiting scholars using a Transformative Learning Theory (TLT) lens (Mezirow, 1978, 1991, 1994, 2000). TLT was used to understand learning as a meaning making process. Data was collected through interviews, a focus group, observations, and reflection for a year-long period. The findings suggest that Chinese visiting scholars considered their experience as an opportunity for self-development. Their meaning making process was relational, they considered the English language as a tool for self-development, and used agency and reflection to shape their experiences. Overall, their meaning making process was deeply rooted in Chinese social and cultural values and was influenced by demands of globalization and neo-liberal economic forces.