Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Mark A. Hector

Committee Members

Joel F. Diambra, P. Gary Klukken, Howard R. Pollio


The primary purpose of this study was to obtain a description of Mainland Chinese female international students’ experiences of adjustment in the U.S. Thirteen participants were asked the one question that guided the study: “Please tell me in as much detail as you can, regarding being a female and originally from China, your process of adapting to your studies and living in the United States.” Participants described their experiences in individual audio-taped in-depth interviews. The interviews were transcribed verbatim, creating thirteen separate transcripts. These transcripts, serving as the primary data source, were analyzed using a phenomenological method. Analysis revealed six interrelated themes that together comprised the thematic structure of Chinese female international students’ experience of adapting to their study and residing in the U.S.: (a) Coming to America, (b) My English Ability, (c) Things are Different Here, (d) My Study, (e) Relationships, and (f) Being a Woman. In addition, analysis revealed one experiential ground, Adapt Over Time, which served as the context for this experience. Thorough descriptions of these themes and grounds were presented along with supportive evidence taken directly from the interview transcripts. Findings of the study were discussed in relation to the existing literature and suggestions for future research implications were provided. In addition, recommendations were also offered for the practice of counseling practitioners, international education personnel, and academic/career guidance advisors in higher education, who have the opportunities to interact with the international students in general and Chinese female international graduate students in particular.

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