Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. R. Jack Richardson
This study examines the types of factors that facilitate and/or impede the social adjustment of international students in a foreign culture. It is argued that establishing effective communication with hosts forms a necessary basis for successful sojourner adjustment. The findings indicate that establishing effective cross-cultural communication and understanding facilitates the longer-term adjustment of the sojourner and contributes positively to the intergroup integrative process. It is further argued that social network involvement facilitates successful sojourner adjustment. The findings indicate that international students belong to two key social networks--the conational and host networks. Each type of network performs different functions in relation to the adjustment process. The primary function of the conational network is to provide a setting within which cultural values may be rehearsed. It largely determines the living arrangements, friendship patterns and organizational affiliations of the sojourners involved. Whereas the conational network aids in initial adjustment, it hinders longer-term adjustment when used as a vehicle for self-segregation rather than as a beachhead from which to enter into meaningful social interaction with members of the host society. The primary function of the host network is the instrumental facilitation of the professional and academic aspirations of the sojourner. It is the primary medium through which students gain proficiency in the host Ianguage and learn about the norms governing relations in the host society. The meanings attributed to relationships in each of these networks are found to be qualitatively different. Ties established with members comprising the conational network are intimate and emotional, while those of the host network are primarily instrumental in nature. Finally, an examination of the effects of foreign study indicates that students consider themselves changed by the sojourn experience, particularly in the areas of intellectual development, self-reliance, and self-confidence. Students also acquire a more realistic, in-depth view of the host country and a deeper appreciation of home country. Foreign study also helps to crystallize the return migration decision. The findings indicate that two factors strongly influence whether the initial migration becomes a permanent one. The possibility that skills and training acquired abroad will be underutilized in respective home countries and uncongenial home country political conditions are important factors in the expatriation decision.
Krywulak, Wolodymyr Ewhen, "The Social Adjustment of International Students Attending McMaster University" (1995). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2243.