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ERIC Number: ED535191
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 270
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1095-9137-8
The Identification of Issues Serving as Barriers to Positive Educational Experiences for Saudi Arabian Students Studying in the State of Missouri
Hofer, V. Jean
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Missouri - Saint Louis
The United States has experienced unrivaled success in attracting international students for higher education studies. Saudi Arabia has sponsored students for study in the United States since 1950, with the number of students on scholarship varying according to the fluctuation in oil prices. The cultures of Saudi Arabia and the United States may be referred to as a panorama of contrasts. Despite the many differences, the two countries have historically been bound together by mutual respect, admiration, and economical circumstances. However, when it was discovered that 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the September 11, 2001 attack were from Saudi Arabia, it created serious tensions between the people and governments of both countries. As a result of the 9/11 tragedy, the United States implemented strict immigration policies which severely curtailed visa issuance to people of certain countries, including Saudi Arabia. In 2005, a meeting between (then) President George Bush and (then) Crown Prince Abdullah was held to discuss ways that both countries may promote better long-term relations. A decision was made to send thousands of Saudis to the United States for higher education studies so that young adults from both countries could develop a better understanding and appreciation for each other's culture. Although it is common for international students to experience adjustment problems when studying in a foreign country, these challenges are exacerbated for students whose host culture is extremely different from their own. This study was designed to identify and measure adjustment problems and issues serving as barriers to positive educational achievements for Saudi Arabian students studying in the state of Missouri. A MISPI survey was distributed to 419 students and 81 responses were received. Survey information was loaded into SPSS Version 17.0 and pertinent demographic information was extracted and documented according to frequency and representative percentage of the participating population. Mean and standard deviation analysis was conducted in order to identify major areas of concern as perceived by the participants. T-tests were employed to examine differences in means between groups of Saudi Arabian students according to exogenous variables pertinent to each research question. Results were compared to previous studies which had been performed on similar student bodies. Results indicated that Saudi Arabian students studying in the state of Missouri are relatively satisfied. Responses showed that out of eleven MISPI categories, only three categories presented a minor problem; these were living-dining, English language, and financial aid. Overall the findings revealed that this student group perceived their adjustment challenges as being less problematic than those of Saudi or Arabian students previously studied. Significant differences in MISPI categories resulted when correlated to students' age, gender, marital status, length of time residing in the United States, degree sought, and the size of the institution attended. Students' qualitative comments were generally positive and optimistic. Students expressed a desire to engage in activities which facilitated making friends, the organization of student events, outings and creating opportunities for cultural exchange. Students expressed concerns regarding immigration regulations, airport procedures, and visa difficulties which prevented them from traveling home between semester breaks. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Missouri; Saudi Arabia