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Towards an integrated conceptual model of international student adjustment and adaptation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alina SchartnerORCiD, Professor Tony Young



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Despite a burgeoning body of empirical research on ‘the international student experience’, the area remains under-theorized. The literature to date lacks a guiding conceptual model that captures the adjustment and adaptation trajectories of this unique, growing, and important sojourner group. In this paper, we therefore put forward a conceptual model of international student adjustment and adaptation which integrates theory and recent empirical research exploring the academic, psychological, and sociocultural aspects of and influences on the experience of study abroad. The article discusses, from an intercultural and educational research perspective, contributory factors to international student adjustment. It also details the theoretical background underpinning the model. We conclude by showing how the proposed integrated model can serve as a heuristic tool for international students and higher education practitioners, and we discuss its implications for practice and application. We also show how it can serve as a reference point for a research agenda.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Schartner A, Young TJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Higher Education

Year: 2016

Volume: 6

Issue: 4

Pages: 372-386

Online publication date: 04/07/2016

Acceptance date: 05/06/2016

Date deposited: 05/12/2017

ISSN (print): 2156-8235

ISSN (electronic): 2156-8243

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc.


DOI: 10.1080/21568235.2016.1201775


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