International Students’ Adjustment Problems and Behaviors


  • Jerry G. Gebhard Pusan National University, Korea



International Students, adjustment issues, adaptation experiences, qualitative research


This article focuses on the kinds of adjustment problems that international students had while they studied at a university in the United States, as well as the adjustment behaviors they used when faced with these problems. Qualitative data was collected and analyzed for over a decade through on-going interviews with 85 international students, as well as through observation field notes and student-written narratives about their adaptation experiences. Findings show that students were challenged by academics, social interaction, and emotional reactions to their new life. To manage their problems, students made use of behaviors that can facilitate adapting to the new culture, as well as behaviors that can obstruct them from adapting. Facilitative behaviors include coping strategies, use of supportive people, observation and imitation, and reflection. Behaviors interpreted as impeding adaptation include expecting others to adapt, complaining, and withdrawing.

Author Biography

Jerry G. Gebhard, Pusan National University, Korea

Jerry Gebhard earned an MA in ESL at the University of Hawaii and an EdD in TESOL at Teachers College, Columbia University. He taught as an EFL teacher & teacher educator in Thailand, Japan, China, and Korea. He also taught in and directed the Graduate Program in Composition & TESOL at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and has published extensively in the areas of Second Language Teacher Education, Cross-Cultural Communication, and EFL/ESL Teaching.




How to Cite

Gebhard, J. G. (2012). International Students’ Adjustment Problems and Behaviors. Journal of International Students, 2(2), 184–193.



Research Articles (English)