Acculturative Experiences Among Indonesian Graduate Students in Dutch Higher Education


  • Amirul Mukminin Jambi University



academic and social stressors, acculturation, Dutch higher education, international students


The intent of this enquiry was to describe the results from research on the lived experiences of Indonesian international graduate students at two Dutch public research universities in the northern part of the Netherlands. The students came from diverse backgrounds and experiences in search of quality education for their future career development. The data collection was conducted from 24 Indonesian students on their experiences from their earliest term throughout their education in the Netherlands. Data were gathered through a demographic profile survey and audio recorded in exhaustive interviews. An analysis of the data revealed common issues—unanticipated educational stressors, unimagined social stressors, language issues, and loneliness/isolation. The participants also described potential strategies for coping with these stressors. The common themes symbolize everyday experiences that Indonesian master’s students faced throughout their acculturative process from the earliest term and over time. Implications, future research, and limitations are discussed.

Author Biography

Amirul Mukminin, Jambi University

AMIRUL MUKMININ, PhD, is a faculty member in the Faculty of Education, Jambi University, Indonesia. He holds a PhD from Florida State University in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and an MS in educational sciences from Groningen University, the Netherlands. He received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue his PhD and was an Erasmus Mundus postdoctoral researcher at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He received a 2016–2017 Fulbright Senior Research at Claremont Graduate University, California. He is particularly interested in educational policy, international education policy, teacher policy reforms, the standardized exam policy reforms, English/Indonesian language policy reforms, and bilingual/multilingual education policy, which will influence educational outcomes for underachieving student populations and family


Abe, J., Talbot, D. M., & Geelhoed, R. J. (1998). Effects of a peer program on international student adjustment. Journal of College Student Development, 39(6), 539–547.

Abrar, M., Mukminin, A., Habibi, A., Asyrafi, F, Makmur, & Marzulina, L. (2018). “If our English isn’t a language, what is it?” Indonesian EFL student teachers’ challenges speaking English. The Qualitative Report, 23(1), 129–145.

Berry, J. W. (2006). Acculturative stress. In P. T. P. Wong & L. C. J. Wong (Eds.), Handbook of multicultural perspectives on stress and coping: International and cultural psychology series (pp. 287–298). New York: Springer.

Berry, J. W., Kim, U., Minde, T., & Mok, D. (1987). Comparative studies of acculturative stress. International Migration Review, 21(3), 491–511.

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five traditions (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Easterly, W. R. (2001). The elusive quest for growth: Economists’ adventures and misadventures in the tropics. London: MIT Press.

Fritz, M. V., Chin, D., & DeMarinis, V. (2008). Stressors, anxiety, acculturation, and adjustment among international and North American students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32, 244–259.

Goodman, A. E. (1996). What foreign students contribute. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 42, A52.

Heggins, W. J., & Jackson, J. F. L. (2003). Understanding the collegiate experience for Asian international students at a Midwestern research university. College Student Journal, 37(3), 379–391.

Institute of International Education. (2017). Open Doors 2017 report: Information and data tables. Retrieved from

Jochems, W., Snipe, J., Smid, H. J., & Verweij, A. (1996). The academic progress of foreign students: Study achievement and study behavior. Higher Education, 31, 325–340.

Kuh, G. D., Gruce, T., Shoup, R., Kinzie, J., & Gonyea, R. M. (2007). Unmasking the effects of student engagement on college grades and persistence. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April 2007, Chicago, IL.

Lee, J. J., & Rice, C. (2007). Welcome to America? International student perceptions of discrimination. Higher Education, 53, 381–409.

Li, A., & Gasser, M. B. (2005). Predicting Asian international students’ sociocultural adjustment: A test of two mediation models. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 29(5), 561–576.

Merriam, S. B. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Mukminin, A. (2012). Acculturative experiences among Indonesian graduate students in US higher education: Academic shock, adjustment, crisis, and resolution. Excellence in Higher Education Journal, 3(1), 14–36.

Mukminin, A., Ali, R. M., & Fadloan, M. J. (2015). Voices from within: Student teachers’ experiences in English academic writing socialization at one Indonesian teacher training program. The Qualitative Report, 20(9), 1394–1407.

Mukminin, A., Kamil, D., Muazza, M., & Haryanto, E. (2017). Why teacher education? Documenting undocumented female student teachers’ motives in Indonesia: A case study. The Qualitative Report, 22(1), 309–326.

Mukminin, A., & McMahon, B. J. (2013). International graduate students’ cross-cultural academic engagement: Stories of Indonesian doctoral students on American campus. The Qualitative Report, 18(69), 1–19.

Mukminin, A., Rohayati, T., Putra, H. A., Habibi, A., & Aina, M. (2017). The long walk to quality teacher education in Indonesia: Student teachers’ motives to become a teacher and policy implications. Elementary Education Online, 16(1), 35–59.

Nguyen, D. J., & Larson, J. B. (2017). Exploring the influence of student affairs on adjustment and adaptation for Indonesian graduate students. Journal of International Students, 7(4), 1010–1029.

Nilsson, J. E., Butler, J., Shouse, S., & Joshi, C. (2008). The relationships among perfectionism, acculturation, and stress in Asian international students. Journal of College Counseling, 11(2), 147–158.

Patton, M.Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Polkinghorne, D. E. (1989). Phenomenological research methods. In S. R. Valle, S. Halling, & J. F. T. Bugental (Eds.), Existential-phenomenological perspectives in psychology (pp. 41–60). New York: Plenum.

Poyrazli, S., Kavanaugh, P, R., Baker, A., & Al-Timimi, N. (2004). Social support and demographic correlates of acculturative stress in international students. Journal of College Counseling, 7, 73-82.

Sato, T., & Hodge, S. R. (2009). Asian international doctoral students’ experiences at two American universities: Assimilation, accommodation, and resistance. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 2(3), 136–148.

Sumer, S., Poyrazli, S., & Grahame, K. (2008). Predictors of depression and anxiety among international students. Journal of Counseling & Development, 86, 429-437.

Trice, A. G. (2004). Mixing it up: International graduate students’ social interactions with American students. Journal of College Student Development, 45(6), 671-687.

Vinke, A. A., & Jochems, W. (1993). English proficiency and academic success in international postgraduate education. Higher Education, 26, 275-285.

Wilton, L., & Constantine, M. G. (2003). Length of residence, cultural adjustment difficulties, and psychological distress symptoms in Asian and Latin American international students. Journal of College Counseling, 6, 177–186.

World Bank. (2002). Constructing knowledge societies: New challenges for tertiary education. New York: Author.

Yeh, C. J., & Inose, M. (2003). International students’ reported English fluency, social support satisfaction, and social connectedness as predictors of acculturative stress. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 16(1), 15-28.

Ying, Y. (2005). Variation in acculturative stressors over time: A study of Taiwanese students in the United States. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 29, 59–71.

Zhai, L. (2002). Studying international students: Adjustment issues and social support. San Diego: Office of Institutional Research, San Diego Community College District. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 474481).




How to Cite

Mukminin, A. (2019). Acculturative Experiences Among Indonesian Graduate Students in Dutch Higher Education. Journal of International Students, 9(2), 488–510.



Research Articles (English)