“I am not an Immigrant. I am an International Student"

A Qualitative Study of Adaptation Experiences of Turkish International Students in Germany





adaptation, Turkish international students, sojourner, consensual qualitative method, college counseling


This study used the consensual qualitative research method (Hill, 2015) and examined the adaptation process of 15 Turkish international students at different German universities. The results of this study yielded four primary domains of adaptation experiences: perceptions of Germany, adaptation challenges, the contributing factors in adaptation experiences, and attitudes toward counseling services. Implications for counseling practice and future directions are discussed in light of the results of this study.

Author Biographies

Seda Erturk, Eötvös Loránd University

SEDA ERTURK is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Doctoral School of Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) Budapest/Hungary. She holds a BA in psychological counseling and guidance from Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun/Turkey, and an MA in intercultural psychology and education from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest/Hungary. Her research interest includes ethnic identity, acculturation, multiculturalism. Email: erturk.seda@ppk.elte.hu

Kemal Oker, Eötvös Loránd University

KEMAL OKER is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Doctoral School of Psychology, Faculty of Education and Psychology, at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) Budapest/Hungary. He holds a BA in psychology from Middle East Technical University, Ankara/Turkey, and an MA in clinical psychology from Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest/Hungary. His primary research interests lie in the area of clinical, and health psychology. Email: kemal.oker@ppk.elte.hu

Lan Anh Nguyen Luu, Eötvös Loránd University

LAN ANH NGUYEN LUU 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. Email: lananh@ppk.elte.hu  


Bektas, Y., Demir, A., & Bowden, R. (2009). Psychological adaptation of Turkish students at US campuses. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 31(2), 130–143. doi:10.1007/s10447-009-9073-5 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-009-9073-5

Bender, M., van Osch, Y., Sleegers, W., & Ye, M. (2019). Social support benefits psychological adjustment of international students: Evidence from a meta-analysis. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50(7), 827–847. doi:10.1177/0022022119861151 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022022119861151

Bertram, D. M., Poulakis, M., Elsasser, B. S., & Kumar, E. (2014). Social support and acculturation in Chinese international students. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, 42(2), 107–124. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1912.2014.00048.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-1912.2014.00048.x

Burkholder, J. R. (2014). Reflections of Turkish international graduate students: Studies on life at a US Midwestern university. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling, 36(1), 43-57. doi:10.1007/s10447-013-9189-5 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10447-013-9189-5

Duru, E., & Poyrazli, S. (2007). Personality dimensions, psychosocial-demographic variables, and English language competency in predicting level of acculturative stress among Turkish international students. International Journal of Stress Management, 14(1), 99–110. doi:10.1037/1072-5245.14.1.99 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/1072-5245.14.1.99

Duru, E., & Poyrazli, S. (2011). Perceived discrimination, social connectedness, and other predictors of adjustment difficulties among Turkish international students. International Journal of Psychology, 46(6), 446–454. doi:10.1080/00207594.2011.585158 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2011.585158

Erensü, S., & Adanlı, Y. (2004). Turkey in the eye of the beholder: Tracking perceptions on Turkey through political cartoons. Kontur, 10, 58–71. Retrieved from: https://kontur.au.dk/fileadmin/www.kontur.au.dk/OLD_ISSUES/pdf/kontur_10/sinan.yasar.pdf

Gloria, A. M., Castellanos, J., Lopez, A. G., & Rosales, R. (2005). An examination of academic nonpersistence decisions of Latino undergraduates. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 27(2), 202–223. doi:10.1177/0739986305275098 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0739986305275098

Greitemeyer, T., & Schwab, A. (2014). Employing music exposure to reduce prejudice and discrimination. Aggressive Behavior, 40(6), 542–551. doi:10.1002/ab.21531 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ab.21531

Hanassab, S. (2006). Diversity, international students, and perceived discrimination: Implications for educators and counselors. Journal of Studies in International Education, 10(2), 157–172. doi:10.1177/1028315305283051 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315305283051

Hill, C. E. (2015). Consensual qualitative research (CQR): Methods for conducting psychotherapy research. In: Gelo O., Pritz A., Rieken B. (eds) Psychotherapy research (pp. 485-499). Springer, Vienna. doi:10.1080/10503300802702113 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-7091-1382-0_23

Hill, C. E., Knox, S., Thompson, B. J., Williams, E. N., Hess, S. A., & Ladany, N. (2005). Consensual qualitative research: An update. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 52(2), 196–205. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.52.2.196 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0167.52.2.196

Horrocks, D., & Kolinsky, E. (Eds.). (1996). Turkish culture in German society today (Vol. 1). Berghahn Books.

Hüther, O., & Krücken, G. (2018). Higher Education in Germany--Recent Developments in an International Perspective. Cham: Springer International Publishing. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-61479-3

İçduygu, A. (2012). 50 years after the labour recruitment agreement with Germany: The consequences of emigration for Turkey. Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs, 17(2), 11–36. Retrieved from: https://dergipark.org.tr/en/download/article-file/816403

Kilinc, A., & Granello, P. F. (2003). Overall life satisfaction and help-seeking attitudes of Turkish college students in the United States: Implications for college counselors. Journal of College Counseling, 6(1), 56–68. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1882.2003.tb00227.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-1882.2003.tb00227.x

Mori, S. C. (2000). Addressing the mental health concerns of international students. Journal of Counseling & Development, 78(2), 137–144. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6676.2000.tb02571.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6676.2000.tb02571.x

Nakamura, Y. M., & Orth, U. (2005). Acceptance as a coping reaction: Adaptive or not? Swiss Journal of Psychology/Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Psychologie/Revue Suisse de Psychologie, 64(4), 281–292. doi:10.1024/1421-0185.64.4.281 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1024/1421-0185.64.4.281

Pedersen, P. B. (1991). Multiculturalism as a generic approach to counseling. Journal of Counseling & Development, 70(1), 6–12. doi:10.1002/j.1556-6676.1991.tb01555.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1556-6676.1991.tb01555.x

Smith, R. A., & Khawaja, N. G. (2011). A review of the acculturation experiences of international students. International Journal of intercultural relations, 35(6), 699-713. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.08.004 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2011.08.004

Statistisches Bundesamt. (2018). Bildung: Auszug aus dem Datenreport 2018 [Education: Excerpt from the 2018 Data Report]. Retrieved from https://www.destatis.de/DE/Service/Statistik-Campus/Datenreport/Downloads/datenreport-2018-kap-3.pdf?__blob=publicationFile

Suoglu, B. B. (2012). Trends in student mobility from Turkey to Germany. Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs, 17(2), 61–84. Retrieved from https://dergipark.org.tr/en/download/article-file/816409

Tajfel, H. E. (1978). Differentiation between social groups: Studies in the social psychology of intergroup relations. London: Academic Press.

Topkaya, N., Vogel, D. L., & Brenner, R. E. (2017). Examination of the stigmas toward help seeking among Turkish college students. Journal of Counseling & Development, 95(2), 213–225. doi:10.1002/jcad.12133 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/jcad.12133

UNESCO Institute of Statistics (2020, September). Education: Outbound internationally mobile students by host region [data set]. Retrieved from http://data.uis.unesco.org/index.aspx

Ward, C. A., Bochner, S., & Furnham, A. (2001). The psychology of culture shock. East Sussex BN3 2FA: Routledge.

Ward, C., & Geeraert, N. (2016). Advancing acculturation theory and research: The acculturation process in its ecological context. Current Opinion in Psychology, 8, 98-104. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.09.021 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.09.021

Yu, W., & Wang, S. (2011). An investigation into the acculturation strategies of Chinese students in Germany. Intercultural Communication Studies, 20(2), 190–210. Retrieved from https://web.uri.edu/iaics/files/15WeihuaYuShuWang.pdf

Zestos, G. K., & Cooke, R. N. (2020). Challenges for the EU as Germany Approaches Recession. Levy Economics Institute. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/George-Zestos/publication/339241779_Challenges_for_the_EU_as_Germany_Approaches_Recession/links/5e45e533299bf1cdb9284ba6/Challenges-for-the-EU-as-Germany-Approaches-Recession.pdf



How to Cite

Erturk, S., Oker, K., & Nguyen Luu, L. A. (2021). “I am not an Immigrant. I am an International Student": A Qualitative Study of Adaptation Experiences of Turkish International Students in Germany. Journal of International Students, 12(3), 716–735. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v12i3.3776



Research Articles (English)