Understanding the Mental and Physical Health Needs and Acculturation Processes of International Graduate Students in the United States
The international graduate student population is a unique one that has specific needs that differ from that of domestic students and other acculturating groups. International graduate students face social, financial, and other stressors rooted in language proficiency while dealing with academic performance demands that accompany being a graduate student (Sullivan & Kashubeck-West, 2015). Furthermore, many international students studying at American universities tend to experience severe adjustment challenges dealing with the unfamiliarity of American customs and traditions in addition to the lack of emotional and social support on behalf of the host university. The goals of this qualitative, narrative case study were to explore the needs of international graduate students in regards to their adjustment and whether the needs of this population are being met by the host institution, Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC). The results of this study indicated that there is a concrete need for University staff to be trained on cultural competency, health literacy, and xenophobia as they seek to meet the potential needs of their visiting international students.
Additionally, health and wellness resources offered through the University should be improved in order to be more comprehensively advertised and promoted on campus and within the surrounding community. The study yields results that crystallizes the impact that poor acculturation can have on the student’s mental and physical health, and how bridges between the international and non-international communities can be built and more importantly sustained, thus resulting in a more inclusive environment.
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