The relational experiences of international students at a large university in the southwest region in the United States



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Over the past decade, the number of international students (IS) studying in the United States has continued to grow steadily. Despite this growth, many IS encounter stressors that affect their psychological well-being. Although these students face such stressors, there is a dearth of research on how those working with IS can combat the negative effects of studying in the United States. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to give voice to IS who are transitioning into the United States to better understand their experiences; specifically, how their relationships impact their transition experience, and how their expectations of the United States prior to their departure from their home countries compares to the reality they are experiencing. I accomplished this task by using a priori coding method outlined by Saldaña (2016). Both predetermined codes using Relational-Cultural Theory as well as emergent codes comprised the themes of this study. Finally, I provide implications and recommendations for future research based on the results of this study.



International students, Relational-cultural theory, Culture shock, Transition shock, Acculturative stress