International students and their social networking process in adjusting to the new environment: A case study on the international students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City

                         Sia, Ah-Hiok; PhD

                         UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI - KANSAS CITY, 2000


                         This study examined the social networking process of international students in their off-campus
                         adjustment to the new environment. Based on the integrative theoretical framework of
                         environmental-human development, social support, and social network models, the study focuses on
                         how international students form their social network. The purpose of the descriptive study is to help
                         understand the process of developing supportive networks in students' transition to the new
                         environment. This study also explored the factors facilitating or the barriers impeding the process of
                         network building, how types of needs determine the kinds of social networks students develop, and how
                         these networks help them meet these needs. Using the qualitative research method, a case-study on
                         subjects from different countries of diverse cultural backgrounds were interviewed. Subjects were
                         divided into categories of those with relatives, those with co-national groups and those without either of
                         these groups. Another group of interest is those with families. This study also examined the subjects'
                         change of network composition over time. The findings of the study substantiate a more theoretically
                         grounded understanding of social networking and international student adjustment to the new
                         environment. The study helps us to recognize the importance of social networking as a necessary
                         component in helping people adjust during life transitions. The findings provide insightful information
                         useful to international educators, practitioners, student services personnel, and international students
                         and parents. The implication of the study calls for a change in higher education institutions' approach and
                         outlook on policy-making and practices.


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