School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Jerry Woodbridge


international students, adjustment, acculturation, higher education, international education, SIO, senior international officers, international student advisors


Educational Leadership | Higher Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study is to describe Senior International Officers’ lived experiences regarding attitudes and beliefs about the adjustment of international students in private and public universities in the Southeast region of the United States. The theory guiding this study is Berry’s theory of acculturation as it relates to a person’s adjustment to a new culture as they either assimilate, separate, integrate, or marginalize. The central research question focuses on the experiences of Senior International Officers regarding the acculturation process of international students on their respective college campuses. The methodology included a qualitative, transcendental phenomenological approach. The participants were 10 Senior International Officers who work at a university in the United States for at least three years and are members of the Association for International Educators or the Association of International Education Administrators. Participants were from settings that included universities that enroll at least 50 or more international students and have the approval to enroll international students on F1 visas from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Data collection included interviews, focus groups, and letter writing. Data was analyzed with coding and theme delineation. The themes presented from the data were understanding social support, understanding campus resources, understanding acculturation as an outcome, understanding international student assessment, and understanding professional networking resources.