The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

James Robinson

Second Advisor

Michael Schwartz

Third Advisor

Kelly Branam Macauley

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Culture Shock, Motivation, Identity, International Students, Cultural Adjustment, Mumford (1998) Questionnaire


In recent years, the notion of Culture Shock has gained popularity and acknowledgment among the general population or laypersons. This study was designed to reinterpret and in essence recreate Mumford's (1998) survey design. These results will be useful for the present as well as future international students at universities. The results will also be helpful for the university’s faculty in easing the transition that International Graduate Students experience when studying in America.

In this study, I had 15 international graduate students complete a 13-question survey and 10-question interview in hopes of determining whether the participant experienced Culture Shock and if so, how it impacted their motivation and identity in their L2 learning environment. Based on my research, I found that regardless of the participants’ gender, cultural background, and prior exposure to different cultures, everyone is susceptible to experiencing Culture Shock. The extent to which Culture Shock impacts motivation and identity varies, but regardless of it not only does impact individuals it has the potential to challenge and change people. Culture shock has numerous impacts on individuals; however, it is important to acknowledge that how it impacts individuals varies in both length and severity.


Throughout the development associate data collection of this thesis, I received irreplaceable support and assistance. I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who helped make this thesis possible. Without the support of my committee members, participants, family, and department resources, I do not believe that this study would have yielded nearly as creditable results. I also want to note that my thesis was developed, and my data was collected during the COVID-19 Pandemic and was made possible due to the flexibility and understanding of not only those directly related to my thesis and data collection but also St Cloud State University as a whole.

Foremost I want to thank the participants who took the time to complete my survey and conduct an interview with me. They shared personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences, which allowed me to conduct this research. It is thanks to these participants that I was able to write this thesis.

I want to thank my Committee Chair Dr. James Robinson for their continuous support of my academic advancement. His knowledge and experience on the subject matter offered irreplaceable insight. I want to thank my committee member Dr. Michael Schwartz for support and insight regarding the topic of Motivation, the IRB application process and for helping me connect with St Cloud State University’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and Intensive English Center. I want to thank my committee member Dr. Kelly Branam Macauley for their insight on ethnographic studies and for providing an additional perspective to my study.

I also want to thank my family for their emotional support throughout the development of this study. Their support and praise provided me with the additional motivation I needed to see this study through.

Finally, I want to thank my wife, Ashley, who provided unconditional emotional support. Thank you for traveling nearly 4,000 miles in 6 days across the country, during a pandemic so that I could complete this study. Her belief in me while I struggled with burnout, writer’s block, exhaustion, and overall lack of motivation meant more than I could ever hope to express. In part, the completion of this study would not be possible without her.



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