Examining the Relationship between Motivations and Resilience in Different International Student Groups Attending US Universities





Extrinsic Motivation, higher education, international students, intrinsic motivation, resilience


Advancing diversity and inclusion in the U.S. higher education requires a solid understanding of the dynamics of students’ mobility. This study investigated the intrinsic and extrinsic motivations that lead different international student groups to study in American universities, in connection with their resilience in overcoming the inevitable higher education challenges. An online survey was completed by 164 international students at three research universities. Pearson correlation coefficient analyses and independent t tests were conducted to examine the relationships among three variables—intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and resilience—along with the differences among groups. Results show a medium-sized positive significant relationship between international students’ intrinsic motivations and resilience, and significant differences among groups of students in relation to intrinsic and extrinsic motivations.

Author Biographies

Heba Mostafa, Saint Louis University, USA

HEBA MOSTAFA, PhD, was born in Cairo, Egypt. Heba immigrated to the United States in 2011. She received a PhD in Educational Foundations at Saint Louis University (SLU). She has served as a graduate research and teaching assistant in the School of Education at SLU. During her assistantship, she co-taught courses in multicultural and global literature. She served as an invited lecturer in School of Education classes at SLU and presented at various national educational conferences. Heba was the 2016 recipient of the Dr. Carol Kahler Scholarship and was awarded second place for the paper she co-presented at SLU’s 2017 Graduate Research Symposium. Heba is pursuing a career in college teaching in the United States. Her research interest lies in studying diversity issues in higher education, with specific focus on the phenomenon of acculturation and its relation to cross-cultural competency and multiple identities of minority student groups. Her dissertation research focused on the acculturation and bicultural identities of second-generation Asian Indian American undergraduates.

Yongsun Lim, Saint Louis University, USA

LOELLE (YONGSUN) LIM, PhD, was born in Seoul, South Korea. Loelle has an extensive background in education-related subjects: Loelle received PhD in higher education administration at Saint Louis University, has a master’s degree in TESOL, obtained her bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Daejun University in South Korea, and is an education specialist with a degree in English education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. With her 17-year teaching career, Loelle’s professional expertise lies in international students’ acculturation process, multicultural diversity issues, and teaching Korean and English as a foreign language. Loelle is currently serving as an Assistant Professor of Korean language in Defense Critical Language and Culture Program at the University of Montana.


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How to Cite

Mostafa, H., & Lim, Y. (2020). Examining the Relationship between Motivations and Resilience in Different International Student Groups Attending US Universities. Journal of International Students, 10(2), 306–319. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i2.603