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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Andrew Effrat

Second Advisor

Ellen Pader

Third Advisor

Kathryn McDermott

Subject Categories

Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Critical and Cultural Studies | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | International and Comparative Education | International and Intercultural Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication | Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies | Social Psychology and Interaction


Theories from the extant acculturation literature functioned to categorize international students’ adaptation experiences and predict their acculturation outcomes. Also, relevant studies focused mainly on students at the tertiary level. For adolescent students seeking self-development toward independence and autonomy, how they negotiated their identity challenges and tensions in a cross-cultural context, and how surrounding others in their socialization impacted on their psychosocial adjustment process and transformative experiences have not been actively explored. This qualitative study approached adolescent students’ acculturation as an integrated development and learning process to explore the effects of developmental and cultural factors on their cross-cultural adaptation, especially examined their homestay experiences and student-host family relationships. It revealed how the surrounding others, through social interactions, impacted students for possible behaviors changes. Particularly, through in-depth interviews, it provided an insider aspect of how daily interactions amplified students’ different expectation into confusion and misunderstanding, and how they negotiated and reconciled the confusion and misunderstanding to create meaningful everyday activities, and over time, their shifting behaviors ensued. It is hoped that by shedding some light on self-resilience of adolescent students, and revealing their acculturative stresses and help-seeking behaviors, their emotional and social needs in their adjustment process might be better served.

Keywords Adolescent students, social interaction, psychosocial adjustment