A study of the relationship between selected characteristics and adjustment of non-native English-speaking foreign students at a major urban American university

Date

1986

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Abstract

This research examined relationships between difficulty of adjustment and length of time to adjust, and certain nonacademic characteristics of non-native English-speaking foreign students (NNESFS). The review of related literature demonstrated that exposure to a novel society produces varying degrees of stress and anxiety. In the process of adjustment, individuals encounter numerous demands, choices and problems to which they must adjust and find solutions. Failure to adjust to a new culture reflects on academic achievement, and in some cases even lowers the students' performance below the proven levels of ability. Regression analyses were set to examine the relationships between personal background, English language proficiency, length of residence in the United States, satisfaction with academic and nonacademic aspects of the sojourn, and students' perceptions of American attitudes toward the students' homeland and adjustment problems. Academic, personal, and interpersonal problems comprised three indices of adjustment. One hundred and forty-two participants completed a questionnaire and 10 volunteers from among them were interviewed. Subjects were undergraduate and graduate students from various countries in a large urban university. The results of the study revealed that: (a) personal background and length of stay in the United States had no bearing on academic performance, personal, and interpersonal adjustment of the subjects; (b) students with higher levels of language proficiency were better adjusted in academic areas; (c) severity of personal problems was related to the students' perceptions of American attitudes toward the students' homelands; (d) students with less-severe personal and/or interpersonal problems were more academically satisfied; and (e) students with less-serious academic problems were better satisfied with academic aspects of the sojourn. The results suggested that academic adjustment of NNESFS is directly related to their satisfaction with academic aspects of sojourn and language proficiency.

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Keywords

Students, Foreign--United States, Student adjustment

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