The Relationship between International Students’ Stereotypes of Americans and Cultural Adjustment

Degree Name

MA in International and Intercultural Management

First Advisor

Sora Friedman


This study examined the relationship between International Students’ stereotypes of Americans and their adjustment to the United States. The research sought to show International Students’ stereotypes of the United States before they arrived, if these stereotypes had effected the students’ adjustment to the United States, and if so, how. The study also showed how these stereotypes had changed since arrival, and what might have influenced the formulation of these stereotypes.

The method used was a questionnaire with both scaled and open-ended questions to document the students’ perceptions of the United States. The participants’ answers were then compared to see whether those whose perceptions had changed the most, were further on Adler’s cultural adjustment cycle (1975).

The conclusions determined that pre-arrival stereotypes influence international students’ adjustment to the United States. Students who had more media exposure and interaction with American culture prior to arrival had more stereotypes before arrival and seemed to be further along on the adjustment cycle.

This information may be of applicable use to international education professionals in order to better understand how international students will culturally adjust to the United States. Advisors may therefore wish to make the students aware in their orientations that American media does not necessarily reflect all individual Americans.

Recommendations for further research included the possibility of doing a lengthier study on individual students, such as a phenomenological study, or a case study or focus group.


International and Comparative Education

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