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ERIC Number: ED549604
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 196
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2672-8401-3
Campus Influence on International Students' Perceptions of the United States
Anson, Mirra Leigh
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Missouri - Saint Louis
International students not only have an economic impact on the United States in the billions of dollars, they culturally enrich college campuses and play a critical role in fostering U.S. foreign relations (NAFSA, 2006). Further understanding the factors that shape international students experiences and perceptions of U.S. culture, and understanding how to foster positive U.S. perceptions, is critical to ensure that the United States maintains the lead in serving as the top destination of choice for students studying outside their home countries. The purpose of this study was to examine international students' perceptions of the United States as a result of participating in a short-term ESL program at three campuses of a community college district in the Midwest, and to explore the influence of varying campus cultural attributes (diversity of the student body, breadth of support for international students, and setting) on these perceptions. This was a mixed-method study. Data was collected via a quantitative survey, four focus groups, and two case studies. The participants were sixty students from eight countries throughout East and Southeast Asia. The findings suggest that the students' perceptions of U.S. culture were altered as a result of their eight-week stay in the United States for each of the five perception areas examined: diversity, friendliness, safety, wealth, and quality of American higher education. The findings also suggest that perceptions of U.S. culture differed because of the cultural attributes of each campus, particularly the construct of diversity. For example, students who attended the more diverse campuses gained a greater appreciation for the historical, social, and cultural issue of race relations in the United States. Yet an important finding was that students from all campuses expressed appreciation for the open discussion and collaborative learning environment of their college classrooms. This class format contributed to increased perceptions of the quality of American higher education. Additionally, students from all three campuses were required to participate in a service learning project that connected academic and social experiences. This experience was integral in not only connecting students with their local communities, but also students reported a greater understanding of wealth stratification in the United States. The attributes from each campus that contributed to positive perceptions and experiences are presented in a model titled S.C.A.L.E. This is an acronym for the five key factors that influenced perception formation: Staff, Culturally-relevant Curriculum, American Student Contact, Local/regional Exploration, and Experiential Learning. All components impact perceptions to various degrees, depending on the cultural attributes of the campuses. Implications and suggestions for international student programming, and suggestions for further research conclude the study. [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:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A