Coming to America: Assessing the Patterns of Acculturation, Friendship Formation, and the Academic Experiences of International Students at a U.S. College

  • Pamela Leong Salem State University, United States
Keywords: international students, American colleges, acculturation, language and cultural barriers

Abstract

Using interview data from 11 international students, this paper compares international students’ experiences at a single American university, and the acculturation issues that they encountered. The students assessed their experiences at the university, both positive and negative, and discussed their perceptions of American ways of doing things. The findings suggest that, when compared to students from other countries, students from China face considerable more difficulties both academically and socially, given the formidable language and cultural barriers. These challenges remain regardless of whether the students self-segregate with co-nationals or associate primarily with Americans. While individual-level factors (e.g., language fluency and coping ability) affect the international students’ lived experiences and perceived satisfaction level while studying in the United States, this paper argues that environmental factors (e.g., the culture and reception of the host society) may be more important in shaping the experiences of international students, whether for better or worse.

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Author Biography

Pamela Leong, Salem State University, United States

PAMELA LEONG, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of sociology at Salem State University in Salem, Massachusetts, USA. Her research interests are varied, but her current scholarship focuses on American culture and inequalities in higher education. 

Published
2015-10-01
How to Cite
Leong, P. (2015). Coming to America: Assessing the Patterns of Acculturation, Friendship Formation, and the Academic Experiences of International Students at a U.S. College. Journal of International Students, 5(4), 459-474. Retrieved from https://www.ojed.org/index.php/jis/article/view/408
Section
Research Articles