Date of Graduation

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International and Multicultural Education (IME)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education (IME)

First Advisor

Dr. Melissa Ann Canlas


The population of international students at community colleges in the United States has increased significantly over the past decade. International students play a big role in building the cultural diversity on campus by bringing over different cultures and sharing their global perspective to the local community. However, they often face challenges adapting into American culture due to cultural differences in education system, language, lifestyle, etc. By looking into the acculturation process of international students to analyze the culture shock and cultural identity changes they experienced, this paper intends to seek ways to help this group of students to ease their acculturative stress and to maximize their study abroad experience. Two focus groups with a total of eight international students were held at a community college in California to gather ideas, opinions, and stories about their college life in the United States surrounding the topic of acculturation, culture shock, and self-identity. Results from our participants indicated that international students experience significant changes in everyday life and various level of culture shock. The results are greatly depending on the students’ personality and social support network. At the same time, results also suggested that the acculturation experience would strengthen international students’ cultural identities provided with a supportive multicultural learning environment. The acculturation experience is both bitter and sweet giving students acculturative stress yet an eye-opening global adventure.