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ERIC Number: ED561540
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 190
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3034-2924-8
A Qualitative Study of Undergraduate International Students' Everyday Experiences with Cross-Cultural Interactions and the Student Adjustment Process
Burkhardt, Joan Wilkinson
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Northeastern University.
The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to understand how everyday cross-cultural interactions affected the adjustment of undergraduate international students attending a private research university in the northeastern United States. To fulfill this purpose, three research questions were formulated as a foundation for this investigation: a/ What are undergraduate international students' personal constructions of successful adjustment? b/ What is the nature of everyday cross-cultural interactions that affected the adjustment of undergraduate international students? c/ How do undergraduate international students describe the impact of university diversity initiatives for promoting everyday cross-cultural interactions? Data included nine semi-structured, in-depth interviews, four field observations, field notes, and documents. Data was analyzed using general inductive analysis, constant comparison, and included multiple coding strategies. Participants represented a range of demographics in keeping with the demographics of the site institution, including region of origin and gender. Other selection criteria included self-reported level of adjustment, year of study, and age range. Findings show that undergraduate international students personally construct successful adjustment in terms of readiness to engage in a new intercultural environment, achieving balance, and a campus community that feels like home. The nature of cross-cultural interactions that affected adjustment is characterized by finding and embracing common ground and managing cultural tension. The impact of university diversity initiatives for promoting everyday cross-cultural interactions is described as creating an us/them divide, promoting solidarity, and establishing a cultural presence. From these findings, four salient conclusions were drawn. First, readiness to engage in a new intercultural environment---the practice of mentally preparing oneself to be flexible, adaptive, and take full advantage of new experiences---is the beginning of the student adjustment process. Second, adjustment is a dynamic process that continues throughout undergraduate international students' U.S. university experiences. Third, formal university events foster recognition of the campus diversity international students help provide, but their impact on everyday cross-cultural interactions is both positive and negative. Fourth, the mode by which undergraduate international students are introduced to their U.S. campus affects their integration and future interaction patterns. [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: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A