Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Janet Y. Thomas, Ph.D.


The United States continues to be one of the leading nations worldwide in attracting international students and scholars for academic study within higher education. According to the recent Open Doors 2012 to 2013 report, the number of international students pursuing higher education degrees at accredited universities and colleges in the United States rose by 7 percent. This boosted the total number of international students studying in the United States to 819,644, the highest ever on record. The majority of these students, approximately 41 percent, are in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. In addition to rigorous academic course work, these students are challenged with navigating social situations and establishing relationships in a new cultural context.

In this pilot-mentoring program proposed for Roger Williams University, a small private institution of higher education located in Bristol, Rhode Island, current programming initiatives specifically focused on the first year international student experience have been examined and expanded upon. Using RWU retention data from 2010 to 2013, existing models of successful international buddy programs from various institutions, and an environmental scan of the university, a new mentoring program specifically focusing on international students, including resources and best practices for social acclimation support services for first year international college students, has be developed.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Civic and Community Engagement | Higher Education | International and Area Studies | Leadership Studies | Sociology of Culture