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Multicultural Learning and Teaching

Editor-in-Chief: Obiakor, Festus / Algozzine, Robert

Managing Editor: Banks, Tachelle

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Issues Affecting Cross-Cultural Adaptation of International Graduate Students

Richard Hartshorne1 / Jennifer Baucom2

1University of North Carolina at Charlotte

2Florida State University

Citation Information: Multicultural Learning and Teaching. Volume 2, Issue 2, ISSN (Online) 2161-2412, DOI: 10.2202/2161-2412.1023, August 2007

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The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze the adjustment problems encountered by international graduate students enrolled in American universities. Issues of interest included motives for attending graduate school, factors involved in facilitating and constraining the graduate school experience, personality traits that contribute to successful performance in a graduate program, and suggestions for future international graduate students. Semi-structured interviews of two international students were conducted with four major themes emerging. These were (a) student needs for a successful graduate program experience, (b) initial barriers to the graduate school experience, (c) consistent barriers to the graduate school experience, and (d) factors that facilitate a successful graduate school experience. These themes were further broken down into internal, external, and combined factors in an effort to better understand the graduate experience of international students. The importance of overcoming initial barriers, such as communication problems and culture shock; addressing consistent barriers to adaptation, such as becoming comfortable in a new learning environment and culture; and focusing on the development and enhancement of factors that facilitate adaptation, such as organizational skills, intrinsic motivation, social interaction, balancing time, and others are addressed. This article concludes with a series of recommendations to facilitate a better graduate school experience for international students.

Keywords: Key Terms: International Students; Adaptation; Multicultural Studies; Graduate Studies

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