Date of Award
Culminating Project Type
Higher Education Administration: Ed.D.
Educational Administration and Higher Education
School of Education
Jones, Jennifer B
Chen, Jim Q
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Keywords and Subject Headings
Chinese International Undergraduate Students, Acculturation, Adaptation
The rapid economic development in China has enabled an increasing number of Chinese students to pursue higher education in countries abroad. Since 2009, the largest group of international students in the United States has been Chinese students (Open Doors, 2020). Chinese international undergraduate students face various challenges during their cross-cultural adjustment in American universities, such as a language barrier, a lack of learning skill, an unfamiliarity with American educational systems and school facilities, a lack of ability to interact with native instructors and students, and psychological adaptation (Sun & Chen, 1999). These changes can create multiple acculturation stressors for Chinese students. Moreover, there is limited research focused on Chinese international undergraduate students studying at American colleges and universities (Yuan, 2010). Very few efforts have been devoted to understanding Chinese undergraduate students’ difficulties, specifically to their intercultural adaptation experience and some particular challenges which arise in their first year studying at the United States colleges and universities.
This study investigated Chinese undergraduate students’ attitudes toward cross-cultural adaptation, what challenges were most critical for Chinese undergraduate students, and how they coped with these challenges in order to help them to better understand acculturation and overcome challenges in their transition. At the same time, it was hoped that this study could help colleges and universities in the United States to better understand Chinese undergraduate students’ experience in their transition, and to provide better services for them.
The setting for this study was selected from typical public state universities in Minnesota. As a representative group, twelve Chinese international undergraduate students from this university participated in this study. A qualitative research method of this study was used to help deeply understand this group’s experiences in cross-cultural adjustment.
In this study the researcher found that culture is center of cross-cultural adjustment, and central to the adaptation process is communication. The findings shows that a long distance culture, English writing, lack of knowledge of American culture, class involvement and interpersonal communication are critical challenges for Chinese international undergraduate students. Furthermore, preferred acculturation strategies among Chinese participants are integration, followed by assimilation. Additionally, it is significant to find out Chinese students’ ability to solve problems and adapt to uncertainties was improved significantly during COVID-19.
huang, ningsheng, "Exploring Chinese International Undergraduate Students’ Cross-cultural Adjustment to American Universities" (2021). Culminating Projects in Higher Education Administration. 47.