Campus internationalization is one of the most important tasks and the biggest selling factors of a college in the United States these days that many colleges spend significant efforts on it. One major component of such efforts is to increase the number of international student enrollment. However, as the number of international students rises, a phenomenon which one often observes is a division between international students and American students. Some international students assimilate well into American students’ communities, but many of them can establish friendships with international students only and go home without having formed a deep relationship with even a single American. This research explores the differences between those students, and analyzes the factors that affect the development of their personal relationships. It is a case study conducted via interviews and surveys with fifteen international students enrolled at Beloit College (Beloit, WI) in Fall, 2006.

The research findings indicated that the identity as an international student is a strong commonality and bond amongst many international students. There are many personal conditional factors that play roles including personality, goals, attitude, environment, and people they meet. However, the data indicate that the two most significant factors that affect international students’ development of friendships are communicative competency based on linguistic ability and cultural fluency nurtured through experience of cross-cultural interactions. Students who have more communicative and cultural fluency are more successful in building a well integrated community of international and American students. Providing students with a support in expanding those capacities would lead to an ideal internationalized campus where students can learn from each other’s differences and develop their capacities as global citizens.


International and Comparative Education | Social Psychology and Interaction