Date of this Version
The purpose of this qualitative, interview-based study was to explore international and domestic student interactions and perceptions of international students from the domestic students’ point of view at a large Midwestern research institution. This study concentrated on domestic students who had not studied abroad or traveled outside the United States in order to focus on the concept of internationalization at home.
Eight students participated in the study. They were all classified as seniors (having completed 89 credit hours or more) at the time of participation. The participants’ ages ranged from 21-31 years old. The participants were asked about their interactions with international students, including where the interaction occurred, barriers to contact between domestic and international students, their perceptions of international students on campus, and about their participation in social events that facilitate integration between international and domestic students. The students were also given a chance to provide suggestions for how to better integrate international and domestic students and whether they thought this would be beneficial.
This study revealed that domestic students held relatively favorable ideas about the presence of international students on campus, and thought there could be numerous benefits from social interaction between domestic and international students. However, the students perceived several barriers to contact between domestic and international students, including the language barrier and that domestic students perceive international students as un-approachable when they are together in large groups of co-nationals. Most of the contact the domestic students had with international students occurred in class, in an on-campus job, or in another academic setting, rather than in a social setting. In spite of the potential for increasing intercultural understanding, currently significant social interactions between domestic and international students were not found to be occurring.
Advisor: Richard Hoover