Date of Graduation

Fall 12-10-2020

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education (IME)

First Advisor

Luz Navarrette García



Studying in the United States is many Chinese students' dream, but those who manage to achieve it encounter two main problems. The first one is the language barrier and the second one cultural shock. Chine is the highest provider of international students with 30% from statistics of 2017/2018 class. The primary language spoken by Chinese is the Mandarin language. All the other languages come in as a second language to most Chinese, including English. When they travel out of their country to further education as students, they are hampered by language barriers as they navigate through their struggle.

China is also a country of rich ancient culture still upheld to date compared to other places in the world where cultures have changed or merged like in the U.S. When Chinese students come to America, they meet diverse cultures that are very different from those accustomed to. This cultural difference poses great challenges for the Mandarin speakers, which we describe as cultural shock.

This project sets out to outline ways that will help international students adapt quickly to the new environment. The research involved interviewing some Chinese students to understand their cross-cultural experiences and compile information that will help develop a handbook that will guide these students in their stay in America. The research found out that these two problems affect Chinese students on a large scale, interfering with their stay, social life, and education. The two issues have lowered their interactions and self-confidence due to their inability to speak fluently and their reluctance to fit in a new cultural environment.

The project recommended several guidelines to help these international students from China adapt to life in the U.S. These guidelines include psychological preparation before they travel and provide the necessary information to quicken their understanding of new ways of life.