Date Approved

10-2013

Date Posted

4-7-2014

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Teacher Education

Committee Member

Alane Starko, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Valerie Polakow, PhD

Committee Member

Patricia Pokay, PhD

Abstract

Although there are many international students in U.S. higher education institutions, they still experience problems related to social and academic life, as the international student experience is not adequately understood. This may be because of a general lack of awareness relating to the international experience, which can often increase the magnitude of the international students’ problems. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study is to provide an overview of the experiences of international students from their own perspectives. Six international graduate students were interviewed for approximately one hour in order to understand their stories in the U.S. Each participant’s story was presented as a case. The participants’ academic, social, and personal experiences were of great interest in this study. Based on the participants’ experiences, everyday life issues, different learning cultures, pursuit of success, social interactions, and personal growth emerged as the thematic findings of this study. These might contribute to the existing body of literature, helping enhance international students’ academic and social experiences abroad. Investigating the international student experience may have a positive influence on faculty members, international student offices, and international students themselves.

Comments

Although there are many international students in U.S. higher education institutions, they still experience problems related to social and academic life, as the international student experience is not adequately understood. This may be because of a general lack of awareness relating to the international experience, which can often increase the magnitude of the international students’ problems. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study is to provide an overview of the experiences of international students from their own perspectives. Six international graduate students were interviewed for approximately one hour in order to understand their stories in the U.S. Each participant’s story was presented as a case. The participants’ academic, social, and personal experiences were of great interest in this study. Based on the participants’ experiences, everyday life issues, different learning cultures, pursuit of success, social interactions, and personal growth emerged as the thematic findings of this study. These might contribute to the existing body of literature, helping enhance international students’ academic and social experiences abroad. Investigating the international student experience may have a positive influence on faculty members, international student offices, and international students themselves.

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