American Students’ Cultural Adjustment in China
Experiences and Coping Strategies
Keywords:American students in China, coping strategies, cross-cultural transition, intercultural identity, study abroad program design
Employing critical incident technique and the constructivist grounded approach, this study conducted individual in-depth interviews with 13 undergraduate students who had experiences studying abroad in China to find out how American college students perceived their new learning environment in China, and to examine the strategies students employed to adjust to the new culture. The results provided practical suggestions for the design and implementation of study abroad programs in China, including the compatibility between the program structure and individual student’s learning needs and aspirations, the use of service-based community-building activities to foster the mutual engagement in interactions between American students and host nationals, and the inclusiveness of local perspectives in American students’ reflection of their cultural immersion experiences.
Anderson, P., & Lawton, L. (2015). Student motivation to study abroad and their intercultural development. Management Faculty Publications, 23(1), 39–52.
Belyavina, R. (2013). U.S. students in China: Meeting the goals of the 100,000 Strong initiative. Institute of International Education. https://www.iie.org/Research-and-Insights/Publications/US-Students-in-China
Block, D. (2007). The rise of identity in SLA research: Post Firth and Wagner (1997). Modern Language Journal, 91, 863–876.
Charmaz, K. (2000). Grounded theory: Objectivist and constructivist methods. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed., pp. 509–536). Sage.
Du, H. (2015). American college students studying abroad in China: Language, identity, and self-presentation. Foreign Language Annals, 48(2), 91–107.
Flanagan, J. C. (1954). The critical incident technique. Psychological Bulletin, 51, 327–358.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. I. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Aldine.
Hashim, I. H., & Yang, Zh. L. (2003). Cultural and gender differences in perceiving stressors: a cross-cultural investigation of African and Western students in Chinese colleges. Stress and Health, 19, 217–225.
Kenyon, K., Frohard-Dourlent, H., & Roth, W. D. (2012). Falling between the cracks: ambiguities of international Student Status in Canada. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 42(1), 1–24.
Kim, Y. Y. (2008). Intercultural personhood: Globalization and a way of being. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 32, 359–368.
Kinginger, C. (2013). Identity and language learning in study abroad. Foreign Language Annals, 46, 339–358.
Leslie, J. (2017). In pursuit of intercultural competency during study abroad. Capstone Collection. 3012. http://digitalcollections.sit.edu/capstones/3012
Montgomery, K. (2017). Supporting Chinese undergraduate students in transition at U.S. colleges and universities. Journal of International Students, 7(4), 963–989.
O’Reilly, A., Hickey, T. M., & Ryan, D. (2015). The experiences of American international students in a large Irish university. Journal of International Students, 5(1), 87–89.
Pedersen, E. R., Neighbors, C., Larimer, M. E., & Lee, C. M. (2011). Measuring sojourner adjustment among American students studying abroad. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35, 881–889.
Pitts, M. J. (2009). Identity and role of expectations, stress, and talk in short-term student sojourner adjustment: An application of the integrity theory of communication and cross cultural adaptation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33, 450–462.
Poyrazli, S., Kavanaugh, P. R., Baker, A., & Al-Timimi, N. (2004). Social support and demographic correlates of acculturation stress in international students. Journal of College Counseling, 7(1), 73–82.
Savicki, V., Adams, I., Wilde, A., & Binder, F. (2008). Intercultural development: Topics and sequences. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 15, 111–126.
Strange, H., & Gibson, H. J. (2017). An investigation of experiential and transformative learning in study abroad programs. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 29(1), 85–100.
Tian, M., & Lowe, J. A. (2013). Intercultural identity and intercultural experiences of American students in China, Journal of Studies in International Education, 8, 103–114.
U.S. Department of State (2009). 100,000 Strong educational exchange initiatives. https://2009-2017.state.gov/100k//index.htm
Wang, I., Ahn, J. N., Kim, H. J., & Lin-Siegler, X. (2017). Why do international students avoid communicating with Americans? Journal of International Students, 7, 555–582.
Woolsey, L. (1986). The critical incident technique: An innovative method of research. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 20, 242–254.
Yang, J. H. (2009). Laihua liuxuesheng kuawenhua shiying de wenti yanjiu [Research on cross-cultural adaptation of international students in China]. Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Press.
How to Cite
All published articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 Unported License.