Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Meredith Reldin


acculturation, acculturative stress, adaptation, assimilation, belongingness, international students


The purpose of this thesis is to explore if acculturation in conjunction with belongingness, affected international student satisfaction. With the changes in immigration, the political climate as a whole and college campus demographics, it was important to evaluate what stress factors international students faced while being undergraduate students at a Midwestern University. In addition to using secondary research, primary research was conducted in the form of 4 interviews and 59 electronic surveys. The independent variables that were measured were reorganized into 2 categories: the students’ religious beliefs and the country where the student is from. Themes that came across throughout the results that were supported by the literature, were when international students were people of color and Christian, they had a more difficult time being satisfied at the institution. Themes of discrimination, classroom challenges and domestic students lacking empathy were also noted. It is hoped this study will inform international educators and university administrators about the difficulties international students face and how to better advice them to navigate the new culture around them.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Students, Foreign -- Middle West -- Attitudes.
Belonging (Social psychology)
Student adjustment -- Middle West.
Social adjustment -- Middle West.
Universities and colleges -- Middle West.


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright