Cultural Partner Program: Enhancing Intercultural Interactions and Transition Outcomes for International Graduate Level Students


  • Shengli Dong Florida State University, USA
  • Pamela Victoria Sirota Florida State University, USA
  • Lu Liu Florida State University, USA



intercultural interaction, stress, international graduate students, transition outcomes, help seeking


International students, especially graduate-level students, experience unique challenges as they make a transition to a new social and cultural environment. This study examines the impacts of the Cultural Partner Program on transition outcomes for incoming graduate-level international students. Of the 171 participants recruited from a public research university in the southeast U.S., 39 participated in the control group and the rest in the experimental group. Although the regression analysis did not reveal significant results, supplemental standardized mean difference analyses was conducted considering the wide 95% confidence intervals and the relatively small sample size in the regression analysis. The standardized mean difference analyses revealed that in comparison with the control group, the experimental group performed better on specific transition outcomes (i.e., intercultural interaction enjoyment, self-esteem, stress, perceived social support, social and academic integration, and attitudes toward seeking professional help) but performed worse on other intercultural sensitivity subscales and cultural identity. Higher education professionals need to foster inclusive and creative environments for international students to enhance their transition experiences and outcomes.


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Author Biographies

Shengli Dong, Florida State University, USA

SHENGLI DONG, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning System at Florida State University. His research interests include transition issues for minority individuals such as international students and college students with disabilities. Email:

Pamela Victoria Sirota, Florida State University, USA

PAMELA VICTORIA SIROTA is a student at Florida State University double majoring in Political Science and International Affairs. Her research interests lie at the intersection between public health and public policy. She has also worked on projects examining the effectiveness of peer partnership programs among international students. Email:

Lu Liu, Florida State University, USA

LU LIU is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning System at Florida State University. Her major research interests include multivariate analysis and structural equation modeling. Email:


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