Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Gustavo Gregorutti

Second Advisor

Jay Brand

Third Advisor

Bordes Henry-Saturne

Abstract

Problem

The internationalization trends indicate that global growth of international students moving from one country to another is predicted to exceed 7.2 billion in 2025 (IIE, 2011)). This crossing of borders inevitably evokes that international students confront multifaceted challenges in their host country. Although many facets of research have addressed their multilayered challenges, most of these studies do not give a voice to international undergraduate students nor do they seek to understand their cultural, linguistic, curricular, and financial narratives. Most importantly, these studies do not explore how international undergraduate students cope with their challenges. It is essential to understand how international undergraduate students cope with their challenges. It is important for their adaptation, empowerment, and the Higher Education Institution’s retention, rates, resources and services rendered to them.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this qualitative study was to give a voice to international undergraduate students, and explore their cultural, linguistic, curricular, and financial stories and experiences. Furthermore, this study sought to understand how international undergraduate students cope with their cultural, linguistic, curricular, and financial challenges.

Method

A qualitative narrative research design was used to explore the stories and experiences of 10 international undergraduate students (five males, five females) at Andrews University and to understand how they cope with their challenges. This method was chosen to facilitate an interpretative and naturalistic approach, to make sense of and simplify understanding of the coping phenomenon. The criteria for participation required that participants 1) be international undergraduate students, 2) range in grade level from freshman to senior, 3) attend Andrews University in Berrien Springs Michigan from 2014-2015, and 4) be willing to share their stories and experiences.

Findings

International undergraduate students at Andrews University are resilient people. Although living in a new county poses countless difficulties due to the new language, culture, curriculum, food, loneliness, stress, and financial issues, yet, the participants strategically managed to confront their challenges, motivate themselves and overcome obstacles. Integrating into a new environment while being homesick can be daunting for international undergraduate students. Furthermore, the demands of the classroom, the curricular differences, and new university rules and regulations, can be overwhelming, especially for foreign students. Nevertheless, they purposefully coped with their challenges through the assistance from the community, the university system, and family, their motivation, determination, their hope for the future, and their faith in God.

Subject Area

Andrews University--Foreign students; Adjustment (Psychology); Students, Foreign--Michigan

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