Experiences of transition to the American community college : a thematic literature review of international student adjustment and exploratory grounded theory study of South Korean students' successful transition Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vx021h32j

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  • The purpose of this dissertation is twofold; to review existing literature regarding the process of international student transition to the United States and to specifically increase the understanding of the experiences of a defined international student population through an original grounded theory study. Specifically, the study describes experiences of South Korean international students who have recently studied within an American community college and who have viewed their transition experience as "successful." Ten South Korean international students participated in this study. Nine of the participants were interviewed three times, with interviews totaling approximately 180 minutes each. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analyzed, resulting in the emergence of a grounded theory. This theory revealed five main categories: one context category and four subsequent developmental stages of challenge, reflection, action, and growth. Challenge was found to be the central category due to its pivotal role in participants' ultimate experiences of successful transition. In particular, the process following the point of encountering challenges set in motion a set of decisions through which participants navigated their difficulties by utilizing a set of personal and cultural skills. Many of these skills were unique to the South Korean population. Through the use of these unique skills and attributes, participants in this study reported developing the strength to "manage with diligence" and ultimately gain confidence to do more on campus and in their larger communities. The process of self-reflection, self-awareness, and confidence building highlighted these experiences of success. These findings are relevant to counselors and student services personnel who support international students in higher education.
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