Year

1995

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences

Abstract

The adjustment of international students in the host community is very important in fostering academic success and also is an important factor in increasing understanding between nations. This research investigates psycho-social and cultural adjustment of 384 international students w h o have been randomly selected from 10 nationality groups at Wollongong University in the second session, 1993.

The framework of the research depends on information obtained from literature and from international students through direct contacts by interview, observation and structured inquiry and through self-report survey.

'Adjustment' is a term used to describe personal and social adaptation to a new environment, developed as a result of interaction with the host community. The quality of adjustment depends on a number of factors including academic, economic and psychological satisfaction and acculturation, by which is meant social/leisure activities and social contact/participation.

The main data gathering exercise is designed as a cross-sectional controlled survey, using questionnaire as a self-report instrument.

The survey instrument, includes 49 items thought to be important in the adjustment process. Factor analysis established that the adjustment measure utilized in this research is unidimensional with a calculated Rho of 0.95.

Analysis of variance revealed that the adjustment of students is significantly different number of variables including religion, nationality, gender, language, age, marital status, having children, duration in Australia, having opportunity to choose the host country, field of study, level of study, having a spouse w h o is a student, prior place of living, completed a course in the host country and whether the home country has been visited during study.

Using multiple regression analysis, the following variables were found to account for most variation in measured adjustment, religion (37%), nationality (29%), gender (11%) and native language (10%).

The present research has contributed to knowledge about international student adjustment the following areas:

The development of a new, empirical model to illuminate factors in the process of student adjustment;

The development of an instrument for measuring the adjustment of international students;

The presentation of an Islamic viewpoint on migration and adjustment which is perhaps unique in the literature; and

Confirmation of the complex inter-relationship between religion, language and nationality which, together, pose challenges to adjustment because they constitute some of the most enduring early learnings.

The author humbly recognises the need for the research model and instrument to be further tested in other groups, place and times.

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