School of Behavioral Sciences


Master of Science in Psychology (MS)


Keith Lahikainen


Bioecological Model, Ecological Model, Bronfenbrenner, Undergraduate International Students, Undergraduate Faculty, Proximal Processes


Education | Higher Education | International and Area Studies | Psychology


The enrollment rates of international students are increasing, but the attrition rates of international students may also be on the rise. Aligning with Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological model, the goal of this study was to obtain insight about the encounters that undergraduate international students face. The purpose of this study was to evaluate these encounters to ascertain and compile core themes that will promote international student success. Data gathered from undergraduate faculty also contributed valuable insight. Recommendations were made for both the international student body and the undergraduate faculty. This qualitative research design investigated a small sample of undergraduate international students and a small sample of undergraduate faculty at a medium-sized Christian university. Data was obtained through timeline interviews with three senior-level undergraduate international students at Liberty University. Standard interviews were conducted with five undergraduate faculty members at Liberty University. The student interviews revealed main challenges that centered around the core themes of: environment, language, affect, support, and motivation. The faculty interviews revealed main challenges that centered around the core themes of: student aptitude, acculturating to American university standards, finances, support, and faculty abetment. Implications of these findings are discussed, and practicable recommendations are made for undergraduate international students, undergraduate faculty, and applicable universities.