Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Teacher Education

Committee Member

Pat Pokay, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Robert Carpenter, PhD

Committee Member

Joe Bishop, PhD

Committee Member

Ethan Lowenstein, PhD


Annually thousands of international students attend US colleges and universities which requires them to adjust to a new environment, often accompanied by a culture shock experience.

This study analyzes to what degree cultural background, gender differences, language proficiency, self-confidence/self-efficacy, and social support networks impact the adjustment process of international students to the US culture.

Forty-five international students attending a Michigan community college were surveyed and interviewed to assess the relationship among self-confidence/self-efficacy, cultural background, gender and social support networks. Western students reported more positive cultural adjustment (M=29.0) than non-western students (M=29.0). Males adjusted better (M=29.4) than their female peers (M=25.4). A significant positive correlation was found between cultural adjustment and the experience of culture shock symptoms. English usage of English as a primary language in the students’ home countries accounted for a stronger social support network.

These results have implications for college and university personnel in working with international students.