Significant life-course changes can be ‘windows of opportunity’ to disrupt practices. Using qualitative focus group data, this article examines whether the life-course change experienced by Chinese students migrating to the UK has an effect on environmentally impactful practices. It does so by examining how such practices are understood and performed by Chinese and UK students living in their own countries, and contrasting them with those of Chinese students in the UK. Using a social practice framework, these findings suggest that practices do change, and this change can be conceptualised using a framework of competences, materials, and meanings. The findings show meanings – the cultural and social norms ascribed to pro-environmental behaviour – to be particularly susceptible to the influence of ‘communities of practice’ where immigrants and natives mix, with pro-environmental behaviour change resulting from assimilation and mimesis rather than normative engagement.