A study of international students' perspectives on cross-cultural adaptation MALCOLM LEWTHWAITE

Abstract. The aim of this study was to discover and describe how international students
experience and adapt to their new academic, social, cultural and linguistic environment.
Questionnaires were given to 1"2 post-graduate students and interviews conducted on the basis
of the responses. It might be expected, given the range of "culture shock" literature which often
presumes the stressful and even pathological nature of cross-cultural transitions, that international
students from cultures very different to that found in New Zealand would report high
levels of frustration, stress and even depression. While most reported on obstacles to integration
as being loneliness, mismatch of culture, frustration with the lack of deep integration with
New Zealanders as well as irritation with aspects of their host culture, there was not a high
level of stress reported. The greatest block to adaptation was lack of intercultural communicative
competence.

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