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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published online by De Gruyter September 6, 2022

International graduate students’ campus and social adjustment experiences at a Japanese university

  • Takahiro Sato ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Ryan T. Miller ORCID logo , Randeep Rakwal , Takafumi Tomura and Koyo Fukasawa


The purpose of this study was to analyze international graduate students’ study abroad experiences at a university in Japan. In this qualitative study, in-depth, semi-structured interviews (Seidman, I. (1998). Interviewing as qualitative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences (2nd ed.). Teacher College Press) grounded in the concept of the sojourner (Siu, P. C. P. (1952). The sojourner. American Journal of Sociology, 58, 34–44) were conducted with international students studying in an English-medium graduate program at a university located in the Kanto region of Japan. The five participants, ranging from 25 to 42 years of age, were from Nigeria, India, Peru, and the United States and were enrolled in a master’s program in physical education, health and sport sciences. Three recurrent themes were identified: (a) challenges in overcoming loneliness on campus, (b) importance of participation in extracurricular activities (on and off campus), and (c) language barriers and cultural differences in daily living. To better support international graduate students at Japanese universities, we encourage faculty, international education office staff, and all students to respect, value, and embrace the languages and cultures of international students.

Corresponding author: Takahiro Sato, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, 305-8577, Ibaraki, Japan, E-mail:


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Received: 2022-07-06
Accepted: 2022-08-18
Published Online: 2022-09-06

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