There has been a rapid increase of Chinese international students from mainland China in the U.S. since 2001. Although extensive research effort has been made to understand the experience of Chinese international students in U.S. universities, the existing literature has not examined the factors that contribute to academic success and life satisfaction among Chinese undergraduate international students in U.S. universities. In this study, a sample (N=140) of Chinese undergraduate international students completed a survey assessing their level of global life satisfaction and demographic characteristics. Fifteen participants were interviewed about: 1) what they perceive as the contributors to their academic success, 2) what they perceive as the contributors to their high life satisfaction, 3) how they manage cultural adjustments and academic requirements transitions, 4) their suggestions for other Chinese undergraduate international students to achieve academic success and life satisfaction. Thirteen out of 15 interviews were analyzed using Consensual Qualitative Research methods (Hill, 2012). Twenty two domains and 20 categories were extracted. Some major contributors to academic success include seeking help, working hard, understanding and adjusting to education in U.S., having good knowledge base from high school, pursuing one's interest, etc. Major contributors to life satisfaction include having social support and network, staying academically successful, being independent, be grateful, growing as a person etc. Most interviewees discussed the challenges they experienced with the transition to the United States. All interviewees shared how they coped with the distress related to the transition. The interviewees also discussed their perception on the relationship between academic success and life satisfaction. Illustrative examples, clinical and practice implications and research recommendations are also presented.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2015. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisor: Patricia Veach. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 136 pages.
Key Experiences in the Adjustment of Academically Successful Chinese Undergraduate International Students at the University of Minnesota: A Qualitative Study.
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