A Phenomenological Study of Cultural Transition and Adjustment of Asian Undergraduate International Students Using Different Cross-Cultural Treatments
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When studying abroad, international students face a series of transitional difficulties impacting academic, social, and professional success. In particular, Eastern Asian international students who comprise over 42% of all international students in the U.S., experience more cross-cultural adaptation distress compared to other international student groups. The purpose of this study was to examine the pre-departure and post-arrival cultural knowledge, transition, and adjustment of Eastern Asian undergraduate international students who completed a pre-departure cultural preparation treatment or received the university's standard international student services at a western U.S. research university. To better understand international students' experiences, this phenomenological study investigated themes discovered within international student narratives by collecting qualitative data including three in-person interviews, seven student written journal reflections, a student survey, and two cultural reports. The findings of this study expand cross-cultural training and international education research by showing that Eastern Asian undergraduate international students gained cultural knowledge, awareness, sensitivity, and competency from a four-week pre-departure cross-cultural treatment to which they applied during their transition and adjustment at a western U.S. research university to better manage cross-cultural differences.
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