Engagement, Satisfaction, and Belonging of International Undergraduates at U.S. Research Universities


  • Sam Van Horne University of Iowa, United States
  • Shuhui Lin University of Iowa,United States
  • Matthew Anson University of Iowa,United States
  • Wayne Jacobson University of Iowa,United States




international students, research universities, student experience


International students face challenges that their U.S. classmates rarely encounter, but few studies examine specific ways in which undergraduate experiences of international students compare to those of their U.S. classmates. This study examines U.S. and international student responses to an undergraduate survey administered at nine U.S. research universities in order to identify similarities and differences in ways that these two groups perceive their experiences. Findings suggest that in many ways, experiences with faculty for the two groups are more similar than different. However international students consistently report lower levels of social satisfaction and feelings of being welcome and respected on campus, suggesting that interactions among students are a significant factor in international student sense of belonging at the university.

Author Biographies

Sam Van Horne, University of Iowa, United States

SAM VAN HORNE, PhD, is a senior institutional research analyst in the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at the University of Delaware. 

Shuhui Lin, University of Iowa,United States

SHUHUI LIN, MA, works as an International Student Support and Retention Coordinator in the International Student and Scholar Services at the University of Iowa. 

Matthew Anson, University of Iowa,United States

MATTHEW ANSON, MPA, is an assistant director, academic planning and analysis. He assists with the administration, coordination, and analysis of the SERU survey at the University of Iowa. 

Wayne Jacobson, University of Iowa,United States

WAYNE JACOBSON, PhD, is Director of the Office of Assessment at the University of Iowa. 




How to Cite

Van Horne, S., Lin, S., Anson, M., & Jacobson, W. (2018). Engagement, Satisfaction, and Belonging of International Undergraduates at U.S. Research Universities. Journal of International Students, 8(1), 351–374. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v8i1.169



Research Articles (English)