“We Begin 300 Meters Behind the Starting Line”

Adaptation of Iranian Students in Hungary in the Post-Sanctions Era





banking challenges , economic crisis, international student, Iran, mental health


This longitudinal qualitative research investigated the psychosocial adaptation trajectory of Iranian international students in Hungary and the challenges they encountered. Semistructured interviews were conducted between 7-month to 1-year intervals with 20 Iranian students. Inductive content analysis was utilized to analyze the interview transcripts. Three themes identified were visa and banking challenges, the impact of the currency crisis in Iran on mental health, and positive and negative changes in psychological well-being. The results revealed that almost all students’ well-being improved over time, despite facing challenges related to visas, banking, and Iran’s recent economic crisis.

Author Biographies

Sara Hosseini-Nezhad, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary

SARA HOSSEINI-NEZHAD is a PhD student in the Doctoral School of Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), in Budapest, Hungary, under the joint supervision of Dr. Lan Anh Nguyen Luu from ELTE and Dr. Saba Safdar from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Her primary research interests lie in the area of clinical, social, and cross-cultural psychology. 

Saba Safdar, University of Guelph, Canada

SABA SAFDAR is an Iranian-born Canadian-educated professor in the psychology department at the University of Guelph in Canada. She received her PhD in 2002 from York University, Toronto, Canada, and has held an academic position at the University of Guelph since 2002. She is Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research at the University of Guelph. Her research focus is on acculturation and understanding the adaptation processes of newcomers, including immigrants, refugees, and international students. Professor Safdar’s research has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, amongst others. In addition to her Canadian academic position, Professor Safdar has held academic appointments in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, India, Kazakhstan, and Russia.

Lan Anh Nguyen Luu, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary

LAN ANH NGUYEN LUU is a Vietnamese-born, Budapest-based intercultural/social psychologist. She is an associate professor and director of the Institute of Intercultural Psychology and Education and the Socialization and Social Processes PhD Program at the Psychology Doctoral School at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. Her main research interests are acculturation, ethnic identity, gender beliefs, and teachers’ attitudes toward diversity.


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How to Cite

Hosseini-Nezhad, S., Safdar, S. ., & Nguyen Luu, L. A. (2021). “We Begin 300 Meters Behind the Starting Line”: Adaptation of Iranian Students in Hungary in the Post-Sanctions Era. Journal of International Students, 11(2), 341–360. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v11i2.1779



Research Articles (English)