Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Osman Ozturgut


Louis Agnese


Patricia Watkins


Studying abroad is attractive for increasing numbers of Chinese students. The United States belongs among the favorite destinations for Chinese students seeking to obtain a university degree. In past years, China was the number one country of origin of all foreign students enrolled in U.S. tertiary education institutions. This study is aimed at exploring Chinese degree-seeking international students’ perceptions about their acculturation in the United States. This qualitative study was conducted at a faith-based private university in South Texas. Eight Chinese international students participated in this research in order to share the perceptions and experiences linked to their acculturation in their host destination. The data was collected through personal interviews and follow up interviews. The data analysis, following the six steps of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis recommended by Smith, Flowers, and Larkin (2009), revealed findings that enrich the field of acculturation and international higher education literature. Four themes emerged during the data analysis: Cultural Assessment and Learning; Language Acquisition and Learning; Academic and Social Support; and Individual Development. The findings of this study will help interested audiences to better understand and learn about Chinese international students’ acculturation process in the United States. Based on the findings, recommendations for practice were set, such as evaluation and development of prev-arrival orientation for Chinese international students, focus on more multi-cultural approach to advising and teaching, and emphasis on peer programs that would help to increase interactions among Chinese, international and domestic students. Further, it was concluded that more research studies need to be conducted, including studies focusing on finding best practices for pre-arrival orientation, teachers’ levels of cultural competence and their skills to effectively teach in multi-cultural classroom, and methods to encourage domestic and international students to interact closer together.