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Title

Feeling a Part of the Community: The Socio-Cultural Adaptation Experiences of Saudi Students

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

This study provides insight into the complexities associated with the enrollment of international students at colleges and universities in the United States within the present social and political climate. It utilizes interviews with international students from Saudi Arabia at a public university in the Midwest. The demographics of the university are skewed toward white students, providing a fruitful backdrop to discuss the socio-cultural adaptation of study participants. It explores institutional aspects of the university, but focuses mostly on the interactions Saudi students have with community members. These include everyday interactions as well as whether Saudi students have acquaintances, friends, etc. who are not from Saudi Arabia. Overall, Saudi students express general satisfaction with their experiences, but encounter difficulties related to an international study experience in general, such as separation from family and friends and adjusting to a different country, as well as an international study experience at the university in this study and in the surrounding town. These stem from the lack of diversity, and manifest specifically in a lack of knowledge about Islam and Saudi Arabia and experience with people from Saudi Arabia among host nationals that contributes to stereotyping, racialization, dominance of the majority culture, and prejudice.

Start Date

25-4-2015 1:30 PM

End Date

25-4-2015 2:30 PM

Faculty Advisor

Xavier Escandell

Comments

Moderator: Anne Woodrick, Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

Location: Sabin Hall, Room 25

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Apr 25th, 1:30 PM Apr 25th, 2:30 PM

Feeling a Part of the Community: The Socio-Cultural Adaptation Experiences of Saudi Students

This study provides insight into the complexities associated with the enrollment of international students at colleges and universities in the United States within the present social and political climate. It utilizes interviews with international students from Saudi Arabia at a public university in the Midwest. The demographics of the university are skewed toward white students, providing a fruitful backdrop to discuss the socio-cultural adaptation of study participants. It explores institutional aspects of the university, but focuses mostly on the interactions Saudi students have with community members. These include everyday interactions as well as whether Saudi students have acquaintances, friends, etc. who are not from Saudi Arabia. Overall, Saudi students express general satisfaction with their experiences, but encounter difficulties related to an international study experience in general, such as separation from family and friends and adjusting to a different country, as well as an international study experience at the university in this study and in the surrounding town. These stem from the lack of diversity, and manifest specifically in a lack of knowledge about Islam and Saudi Arabia and experience with people from Saudi Arabia among host nationals that contributes to stereotyping, racialization, dominance of the majority culture, and prejudice.