Studying in the United States: Language Learning Challenges, Strategies and Support Services


  • Debra M Wolf Chatham University
  • Linh Phung Chatham University



language learning, study abroad, language challenges


A case study was conducted to explore the experiences of Chinese nurses when completing a graduate nursing degree taught in English (as a second language) in the United States over a one-year period. The study explored language, academic, and social challenges perceived by the students, strategies used to overcome challenges, and academic support services designed to help students succeed in their studies. Survey data were collected at three different points in time, and three interviews were conducted with each participant. The study identified participants’ difficulty with academic writing, mixed experiences with speaking, moderate to high levels of strategy use, and appreciation of the support services offered. The study offered implications for improvements in pedagogies and programming for international students.

Author Biographies

Debra M Wolf, Chatham University

Debra M. Wolf,PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, is a Professor of Nursing in the School of Health Sciences at Chatham University. Her major research interests lie in the area of academic literacies, international study abroad, healthcare informatics.

Linh Phung, Chatham University

Linh Phung, EdD, is the Director, English Language and Pathways Programs within the Office of International Affairs at Chatham University. Her major research interests lie in the areas of second language acquisition, task-based language teaching, and international education.


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How to Cite

Wolf, D. M., & Phung, L. (2019). Studying in the United States: Language Learning Challenges, Strategies and Support Services. Journal of International Students, 9(1), 211–224.



Research Articles (English)