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International Students (lecture notes)
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International Students (lecture notes)


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adapted from Ward et al, The Psychology of Culture Shock (for instructor)

adapted from Ward et al, The Psychology of Culture Shock (for instructor)

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  • 1. SOJOURNERS:InternationalStudents
  • 2. Sojourn• Temporary and voluntary stay in a new place, voluntarily and relatively short period of time• Student and business sojourners are usually more committed than tourists to new location, but less involved than immigrants and refugees• Must adapt quickly
  • 3. Process & Predictors of Adaptation• Systematic research only in past 50 years (some on diplomats/volunteers, but most invlove students and business people)• Focuses on ABCs of transition and tries to establish factors that predict adjustment (social, individual, etc)• Best research is longitudinal w/good sample of host nationals (expensive & difficult)
  • 4. Literature on International Students• Problems of sojourners• Psychological reactions of sojourners to encountering a new cultural environment• Influence of social interaction and communication on sojourner adaptation• Culture learning process of the cross- cultural sojourn
  • 5. Historical Perspectives• Foreign policy tool to expand the influence of the states that established centers of intellectual excellence• Moral or missionary purpose to spread the values of the dominant culture• Later, more secular goals such as the spread of democratic values or educational practices• The promotion of international harmony
  • 6. International programs• Assist in the reconstruction and economic development of countries that had been adversely affected by the war or whose educational infrastructure was rudimentary• Train scientists, technologists, teachers, etc. for employment in home countries
  • 7. International programs (cont.)• Create receptive markets for the industrialized sponsor countries and expand their sociopolitical influence abroad• Establish positive attitudes toward host country after returning home to work in positions of responsibility or government
  • 8. International students and businesspeople• Both groups are relatively well-educated and motivated, yet overseasstudents generally originate from lessdeveloped countries and sojourn in theindustrialized world while the oppositeis true of business people.
  • 9. Brain DrainDemographic and social trends suggestedthat the economic-development goals ofinternational programs were infrequentlyrealized: A sizeable portion of studentseither did not return home, or if they did,emigrated at the first opportunity, which hada positive impact on the economies wheregraduates settled but failed to raise thetechnical expertise of developing countries
  • 10. Problems faced by returning students• When graduates did return to their homelands, the sociopolitical systems and under-resourced developing countries did not support the technological innovations learned overseas.• Returning students often tried to introduce changes that were not sensitive to local customs and traditions or required a level of infrastructure that was not readily available.
  • 11. Researchers & overseas studentsResearchers began using overseas studentpopulations for testing theories dealing with thenature, determinants and outcomes of culturecontact such as culture-distance; acculturationand/or culture learning process; U-curve, W-curveand learning-curve adjustment debates; changesin the self-construal; nature and determinants ofstress & coping responses; determinants ofprejudice and ethnocentrism; remedial action toreduce group friction.
  • 12. Part of the export industry• Part of export industry of the countries that used to pay the students‟ bills (no longer participating in economic aid or technical reconstruction, nor targets of political influence)• Fierce competition among Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand• Students have become clients/no turning back as many institutions are dependent on this income
  • 13. Current Research• Focuses on how to reduce stress and enhance positive aspects of the sojourn experience• How to increase market penetration via word-of-mouth accounts by satisfied study- abroad students• Reflect increasing sophistication of research strategies and theories, longitudinal studies
  • 14. Longitudinal Studies• Try to predict cross-cultural and educational adaptation by pre-departure variables• Monitor changes in the levels of psychological and sociocultural adaptation over time, generally designed to test the U- curve hypothesis but have failed to produce supportive evidence
  • 15. Empirical Research• Interpersonal and intergroup interactions• Difficulties faced by international students• Academic issues in the intercultural classroom• Variations in psychological, sociocultural and academic adaptation• Re-entry experience
  • 16. Influential Perspectives• Bochner‟s functional model of friendship networks (from culture learning theory in the 70s)• Stress & Coping focuses on quality and quantity of interpersonal encounters and social support• Social identification concentrates on intergroup perceptions of foreign students and their hosts and perceived discrimination
  • 17. Customer Service & Satisfaction• Feedback about student problems are important considerations as abroad students have become major source of revenue (ensures adequate services and assumes a central role in broader cross- cultural transition and adaptation literature)• Culture learning addresses the description, explanation and prediction of difficulties• Stress & Coping identifies stressors that impair adaptation
  • 18. Academic Performance• Significant component of cross-cultural adaptation, distinguish students from other types of sojourners• Research examines the antecedents and correlates of academic performance• Developing literature on the intercultural classroom (definitions and perceptions of intelligence, student/teacher expectations, classroom communication
  • 19. Longitudinal Investigations• Prediction of successful adaptation by pre-departure variables• Changing patterns of adaptation over time
  • 20. Bochner‟s Model of Friendship Networks• Bonds with fellow compatriots to rehearse, express and affirm culture-of-origin values• Links with host-nationals to facilitate the academic and professional aims of the students (other students, teachers, counselors, university bureaucrats and government officials— relationships more formal than personal)• Friendships with other non-compatriot foreign students, largely recreational and supportive• Reflects culture-learning perspective
  • 21. Despite benefits, host national contact isleast salient of three networks:• Peer pairing programs are highly effective (students more likely to prefer local companions)• Pre-departure contact increases likelihood of sojourner- host friendships and spending leisure time together• Culture-learning advantages are great: fewer academic and social difficulties, increased satisfaction with host national contact, improved communication competency and general adaptation to life overseas• Emotional benefits include greater sojourn satisfaction, lower levels of stress, fewer psychological adjustment problem, more positive mood
  • 22. Social Support Hypothesis• Derives mainly from Stress & Coping literature• Emphasizes the quality and quantity of support rather than the actual support network• Both host and co-nationals can contribute to satisfaction and the enhancement of psychological well-being• Greater support alleviates homesickness and buffers the relationship between stress & depression• Poor social support accounts for a large proportion of the variance of depressive symptoms
  • 23. Intergroup perceptions & relations• Positive results seen in equal status, voluntary and cooperative interactions (see Bond‟s 1986 study of auto-, hetero- and reflected stereotypes in local Chinese and American students in Hong Kong--pg. 151, Ward) “These groups co-exist happily in the same geographical space… Clearly, it is possible to have intergroup harmony despite the presence of broad and clear stereotypes about one‟s ingroup and relevant out-group:” Bond
  • 24. Intergroup relations (cont.)• Not all contact studies have produced positive results (see Sodowsky and Plake‟s 1992 study of foregin students in an American university—pg 152, Ward).• In Stroebe et al‟s 1988 study of American undergraduates in France, student exchanges led to the sharpening of negative stereotypes.
  • 25. Negative PerceptionsPerceptions of prejudice and discriminationare not uncommon and are stronger insojourns than immigrants.• Increase when culture distance is greater• Produce negative outcomes such as increased stress, identity conflict and adjustment problems
  • 26. Problems of International Students• Insufficient linguistic and cultural skills, prejudice/discrimination, homesickness/loneliness• Pressures associated with the role of „foreign ambassador‟ in their interactions with hosts• Conflicts related to personal development in early adulthood• Stressors associated with transition to a new school or university
  • 27. Problems reported by Americanundergraduates in Europe:• Housing• Money• Coursework• LanguageTen most commonly experienced problems ofliving and learning abroad as reported by 439students from the U.S., U.K., France, Germanyand Sweden (see Table 7.2, pg 155, Ward)
  • 28. The Intercultural ClassroomApart from language deficiency, which is perceivedas the most significant source of academicproblems, other factors that may affect academicsuccess and satisfaction include:• Individual differences in learning styles and academic achievement• Cultural variable factors such as importance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation• Level of field dependence and independence• Learning styles (cooperative or competitive)• Perceptions of intelligence
  • 29. Classroom communication/interaction• I-C: Individualist students are more likely to want to stand out in class, ask questions, give answers and engage in debate (often seen as competitive, rude), whereas collectivist students are more strongly motivated to fit in and are less verbal and unwilling to draw attention to themselves (may be seen as withdrawn/uninterested)• PD: Collectivism is strongly related to power distance, and students from high PD cultures are less likely to question and/or debate, which is seen as an inappropriate challenge to the teacher (loss of face), more strongly motivated to show respect and maintain formal relationships.
  • 30. American vs. Chinese perspective• Americans regard teachers as facilitators who promote learner autonomy. The educational system is adaptive and accommodates the learner who is the center of the educational process.• Chinese see the teacher as a transmitter of knowledge, a role model and the focus of educational practice. If students are unsuccessful academically, it is largely perceived as a matter of motivation, effort and ability, not the fault of the teacher. Emphasis on learning without questioning, which is often seen as disruptive and disrespectful.• (see Pratt‟s 1991 study, pg 158, Ward)
  • 31. Re-entry• Asian students report being more concerned about peer & professional contacts than family relations• American returnees reported positive changes in parental relations, but mixed outcomes with friends (both positive and negative attributed to overseas experience)• Returnees present more psychological symptoms than peers who remained at home• American returnees report being generally less satisfied with lives at home than abroad
  • 32. Common re-entry problems• Communicating with friends• Dealing with stereotypes• Uncertainty over cultural identity• Social withdrawal• Decreased relationship satisfaction• Psychological problems associated with re-entry include physical distress, anxiety, apathy, loneliness and feelings of loss (Uehara, 1986)(see pg 164, Ward, Problems of student returnees adaptedfrom Gaw, 2000)
  • 33. Additional factors affecting re-entry• Demographic: age may play a role in predicting successful re-adaptation, especially during critical years of identity development (9-15 years of age)• Gender: differences have been reported with women expressing more life satisfaction after returning than men• Cultural factors: re-entry into a „tight‟ society has been reported as more difficult than returning to „loose‟ countries-returning Japanese students are noticed for lookingphysically different, having different interpersonal stylesand behaving with different manners, which may not fit therequirements for being a „proper Japanese.‟