Concerns of international students and support systems at MU [abstract]
University of Missouri-Columbia. Office of Undergraduate Research
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In the last decade, cultural diversity in higher education has increased in the United States. The enrollment of international students in universities has been growing and the MU campus is not an exception. With this new trend, researchers have examined international students and their culture to develop supporting systems with the goal of reducing areas of concern while in the United States. In this study, I obtained 129 completed surveys from MU international students. I examined their sources of concern, if these concerns remain or are resolved over time, and possible coping strategies to overcome these issues. Results indicate that academic and language related concerns are the two largest areas for MU international students, and these concerns remain constant throughout their collegiate experience. Additionally, results showed that students' emotional status negatively influences their social activities. However, many international students hesitate to access professional help or support programs when they have issues or concerns. Of the available programs, the conversation program is the most used support on campus among international students. Although there are individual differences as to how open students are about their concerns, friends are the main source they share their concerns with. I also examined students' free time activities. Results show that physical activities and watching movies are popular activities for spending their free time. These findings indicate that the approach of forming friend and social support programs through physical and social activities may be helpful for international students. With these primary findings, I hope to further development of the international community and its support programs on the MU campus. Better targeting the population of international students is very important to a higher quality support system for all students at MU. Finally, additional study with international students and their sources of support is recommended for future research.