The First Year of Acculturation

A Longitudinal Study on Acculturative Stress and Adjustment Among First-Year International College Students




acculturative stress, adjustment difficulties, English proficiency, first-year college students, homesickness, international students


We analyzed 192 first-year international college students in the Mid-Atlantic region to examine the change in international students’ acculturative stress, adjustment, and collegiate experiences during their first year of enrollment in U.S. higher education. We found that male students, students from low socioeconomic status backgrounds, and students majoring in the humanities showed higher rates of acculturative stress and lower rates of satisfaction with college experiences compared with their counterparts. International students reported decreased acculturative stress and homesickness and increased English proficiency, social connectedness, and satisfaction with college experiences during the last week of the first year compared to the first week of their first semester. Satisfaction with college experiences, English proficiency, social connectedness, and self-esteem were significant predictors of acculturative stress. Lastly, acculturative stress at the beginning of the first year and satisfaction with college experiences at the end of the first year affected each other reciprocally over 1 year.


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Author Biographies

Katie Koo, Texas A&M University-Commerce, USA

KATIE K. KOO, PhD, is an assistant professor of higher education at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Her research focuses on underrepresented students’ collegiate experiences, mental health issues, and adjustment, including international students’ psychological well-being.

Ian Baker, Michigan State University, USA

IAN BAKER, MA, is a PhD student in higher education at Michigan State University. Ian is also working as a learning and assessment coordinator of LAS Hub Program at the University of Michigan. Ian is interested in international students’ experiences and advising.

Jiyoon Yoon, University of Texas at Arlington, USA

JIYOON YOON, PhD, is an associate professor of science education at the University of Texas at Arlington. She is interested in acculturation and culturally sensitive practice for international students. She has also established and directed international programs to exchange teaching methods and culture between the Korea and the United States.


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How to Cite

Koo, K., Baker, I., & Yoon, J. (2021). The First Year of Acculturation: A Longitudinal Study on Acculturative Stress and Adjustment Among First-Year International College Students. Journal of International Students, 11(2), 278–298.



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