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Understanding the Mental and Physical Health Needs and Acculturation Processes of International Graduate Students in the United States

As an increase in mobility continues, there has also been an increase in international students attending universities in the United States. Furthermore, as the trend in institutions of higher education promoting internationalization increases, the importance of understanding this population’s needs subsequently gains importance. There are many obstacles that international graduate students encounter as they sojourn from their home country to the U.S. to embark on their graduate career, which include adjusting to a new culture, language, and academic environment, and can stem from emotions of social isolation, being homesick, and culture shock, to name a few.

Led by Drs. Mehrete Girmay, Gopal K. Singh, Sosanya Jones, and Juliane Wallace, this study’s  findings, published in The Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, have the ability to broaden perspectives to include an understanding of the potential negative health outcomes of xenophobia and the interconnectedness of stress and mental health as it relates to this population. The study also sheds light on the criticality for host university staff to work toward ensuring that their visiting international graduate student properly acculturates into their new educational setting while feeling safe and supported throughout the duration of their stay.

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