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