Adjustment Challenges of International Students: Implications for Social Work Practice

Lawrencia Baaba Okai


International students are confronted with copious challenges as they endeavor to study abroad. This study investigates the adjustment challenges international students encounter as they transition to their new environment, and the coping mechanisms or adaptation strategies they use to survive the challenges they experience. The role of the social worker in helping international students adjust, and collaborating with appropriate college offices to strategically position themselves to support international students is also discussed. A mixed method of study was utilized. A modified version of the Michigan International Students Problem Inventory (MISPI) was used in addition to data collected through survey questionnaires. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods (mean, standard deviation, t-test, and One Factor ANOVA) were used to analyze the data. This paper is an extension of my doctoral dissertation. While drawing on useful literature and other important information from my dissertation for the analysis, the work is also different from many perspectives in terms of new scholarly sources, enhanced ideas, and analyses. Results of the study revealed several challenges international students encountered with racism, discrimination and relationship between faculty and students being the greatest. It is imperative for social workers to support institutions to provide resources that caters to the specific needs of international students. Creating a positive and welcoming environment is crucial for the efficacious adjustment of international students.

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