Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology and Rural Studies


A visible and significant subset of the student body of many U.S. institutions of higher education is its foreign student population. These students come from a wide variety of cultures and as Skinner & Hendricks have put it, "Despite the variety of views of foreign students Americans may have, Americans have a common feeling that the foreign student is somehow different, a 'they' and not a 'we' ". The foreign student is different because he/she is from culture that has different values, traditions and different codes of behavior and guides for conduct. Meleis asserts that ''whereas American business-people need know very little about another personally to transact a deal, Arabs need to know much more" and they acquire this information ''from questions, body movements, posture, and eye contact." Encountered with a host of similar cultural differences, however, they all have to adjust here. This study is an exploratory study which will identify and examine factors involved in the adjustment and socialization process of the South Dakota State University (SDSU) international students. At the time of this study, April of 1982, there were 236 international students enrolled at SDSU, mainly from developing countries. This study involved an interview of 106 international students on the campus of SDSU in April of 1982, and the study was part of a larger study which was funded by Title XII. When a student goes to a foreign country to pursue an education, he/she discovers that the familiar norms of the home society do not necessarily hold. in the host society; the student is suddenly bereft of what. had been safe guides for conduct. The student has to establish a modus vivendi with the host, and that is the learning of the norms, at least, that regulate relations. However, the student is not always aware of the range of permissible deviations from the declared official norms of the society. So, it is important to know what kinds of problems the students have and how they can be taught the proper behavior to a situation. This study intends to shed some light on this matter. This work also intends to supplement the work already done in this area by examining the relative influence of various identified factors. Objectives of the Study This study has two objectives to accomplish. The first objective of the study is to identify adjustment problems commonly encountered by foreign students at SDSU. The second objective is to examine the relationship of selected demographic and experiential variables with the adjustment of foreign students at SDSU. In addition, some contextual or structural variables are examined in relation to adjustment. These include: age, race, marital status, geographic origin, academic status (graduate vs. undergraduate), and major of study. Based upon the existent literature and theoretical considerations the following demographic experiential variables were selected for analysis: socio-economic background; sex; prior cross-cultural experience; urban vs. rural background; and length of time in the U.S.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

South Dakota State University -- Students

Student, Foreign

Student adjustment

Students, Foreign -- South Dakota

South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University