Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Kevin Brennan

Second Advisor

Richard Rodman


International student populations are increasing in large proportions at universities across the United States. The onset of culture shock and difficulty communicating and relating with their new peers compounds an already difficult situation. Universities and colleges need a method to accommodate these students and help facilitate their transitions into a completely new academic and social environment.

American Ways: A course on Contemporary American Culture for International Students” is a semester-long university level course designed to give knowledge and understanding of “American” culture to international students attending U.S. higher education institutions. It will cover topics surrounding U.S. culture that include: basic knowledge and skills, American doxa (taken-for-granted understanding of American culture), and American diversity. The course will be coupled with accompanying international student focused social programming to reinforce what they have learned in the classroom. The students will be required to participate in social programming to give them the opportunity to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. Through this course, international students will gain crucial knowledge about U.S. culture to both better understand the new environment in which they are living and studying as well as to improve their social interaction with their domestic counterparts. “American Ways” will allow international students to better adapt to social situations in the United States, as well as relieve common misconceptions of U.S. culture they may have.

Lessons from the course will contribute to the literature and practices for remedies to international student integration and assimilation to U.S. universities and colleges. The replicable and adaptable model will better equip U.S. higher education institutions to alleviate international student adjustment issues.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | International and Area Studies | International and Comparative Education | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology of Culture