Factors during Acculturation

The theme of factors during acculturation includes the subcategories of (a) length of stay, (b) acculturation strategies, (c) coping strategies, and (e) social support.

Length of Stay

How long one has been experiencing acculturation strongly affects the kind of problems and their extent. Both quantitative study and follow-up interviews indicate that newly arrived students expressed more anxiety and frustration in language barrier (t = 2.73, p = 0.01 < 0.05), academic challenges, and culture shock, while students who had been here longer, and thus were closer to graduation, were more easily subject to the stress of future vocational achievement and immigration issues (t = 2.17, p = 0.014 < 0.05).

A physics student recalled his 4 years of experience in the United States:

When I first came, I had a greater desire to make friends. Everything was new. I felt very lonely. My life was just like solitary confinement, with no one to talk with on campus and no car to leave campus. My English was awkward, and I felt the language barrier was difficult to overcome. Studying was very hard and I had a lot of frustrations. Now 4 years later, my need for emotional communication and social interaction is much lower than it was during my first semester. My desire to make friends has waned now, and my life is much less stressful. (Participant 13)

A political science doctoral student who had been in the United States for 4 years concurred:

I do not care so much now. The longer I stay here, the less I care. The surprising is not surprising anymore once you see it many times. There are still times I worry, but at least I do not feel the sky will collapse on me anymore. Since I am going to graduate next year, I am now more concerned about how to deal with visa issues, future job opportunities, and immigration things. (Participant 3)

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