Sociocultural Adaptation of U.S. Education Abroad Students in Greece: The Effects of Program Duration and Intervention
Keywords:Sociocultural Adaptation, U.S. Education Abroad Students, Greece, Program duration, Study abroad, Education abroad
When students who participate in education abroad (EA) programs are first exposed to a foreign culture, they undergo several psychological, behavioral, and cognitive adjustments. Upon arrival to the host country, they are confronted with a variety of problems as they adjust to the new surroundings. These could range from language barriers and homesickness to an inability to participate in social interactions and depression. Research on sociocultural adaptation and adjustment has produced several theories, but for the purpose of this study, the sociocultural adaptation theory, as it has been proposed by Ward and Kennedy (1999), will be used. This article presents a study, which attempts to address the issue of what actually constitutes a sojourner adaptation by developing the construct of sociocultural adaptation.
American College of Education (2006). Articulating learning outcomes. American Council of Education. International Education. Retrieved January 8, 2012 from http://www.acenet.edu/AM/Template.cfmSection=Intl&Template=/CM/HTMLDisplay.cfm&ContentID=19462.
American College of Education (2010). Study abroad enrollments remain steady. Presidency, 13(1), 10.
Antonakopoulou (2010). The current status of study abroad movement in Greece. Unpublished manuscript. Indiana State University.
Bateman, B. A. (2002). Promoting openness toward culture learning: Ethnographic interviews for students of Spanish. The Modern Language Journal, 80, 318-331.
Donnelly-Smith, L. (2009). Global learning through short-term study abroad. Peer Review, 11(4), 12-15.
Ekman, P., Friesen, W., O'Sullivan, M., Chan, A., Diacoyanni-Tarlatzis, I., Heider, K., et al. (1987). Universals and cultural differences in the judgments of facial expressions of emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(4), 712-717.
Goldstein, S.B. & Kim, R. I. (2006). Predictors of US college students’ participation in study abroad programs: A longitudinal study. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30, 507-521.
Gullberg, M. (2006). Some reasons for studying gesture and second language acquisition (Hommage à Adam Kendon). International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 44(2), 103-124.
Furnham, A., & Tresize, L. (1981) The mental health of foreign students. Social Science and Medicine, 17, 365-370.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture's consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Hofstede, G. (2008, May 8). Cultural Differences in Teaching and Learning. Paper presented at the FUHU Conference on Education and Training in the Multicultural Classroom. Copenhagen, Denmark. Retrieved March 10, 2012 from http://fuhu.dk/filer/FBE/Arrangementer/Denmark%20Unlimited%20080508/FBE_geert_hofstede_teaching_learning.pdf
IIE Open Doors (2011). Open Doors fast facts. Retrieved on June 7, 2012 from http://www.iie.org/en/Research-and-Publications/Open-Doors
IIE Abroad (2010). Membership survey report. 2009-2010 results. Retrieved June 2, 2012 from
King, P. M., & Baxter Magolda, M. B. (2005). A developmental model of intercultural maturity. Journal of College Student Development, 46(6), 571–592.
Lee, S. & Bradley,K.D. (n.d.). Relation between general efficacy, assertiveness, spirituality, and acculturative stress among international students. Retrieved June 1, 2012 from http://www.uky.edu/~kdbrad2/InternationalStudents.pdf
Leong, C. & Ward, C. (2000). Identity conflict in sojourners. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24, 763–776.
Orpet-Long, S., Akande, Y.S., Purdy, R.W., & Nakano, K. (2010). Deepening learning and inspiring rigor: bridging academic and experiential learning using a host country approach to a study tour. Journal of Studies in International Education. 14: 89-111.
Paige, R.M. & Stallman, E.M. (2008). Using instruments in education abroad outcomes assessment. In M.C. Bolen (Ed.), A guide to outcomes assessment in education abroad (pp. 137-161). Forum on Education Abroad, Carlisle: PA.
Pedersen, P. (2009). Teaching towards an ethnorelative worldview through psychology study abroad. Intercultural Education, 20, 73-86. Retrieved June 10, 2012 from
Pedersen, P. (2010). Assessing intercultural effectiveness outcomes in a year-long study abroad program. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 34(1), 70-80.
Pedersen, P. (2011). Infusing intercultural into your international. Examples, outcomes, and participant dialogue [Video file]. Retrieved March 21, 2012 from http://mediamill.cla.umn.edu/mediamill/display/110485
Savicki, V. (2008).Developing intercultural competence and transformation; Theory, research, and applications in international education. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
Savicki, V. (2009, May). Socio-cultural adaptation scale. In D. Deardorff (Chair) Assessment toolbox for international educators. Symposium presented at the NAFSA Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved April 20, 2012 from http://www.saintmarys.edu/~cwil/php/intercultural.learning/IILOutcomes.php
Savicki, V., Adams, I., Wilde, A. & Binder, F. (2008). Intercultural Development: Topics and Sequences. In V. Savicki, (Ed.), Developing intercultural competence and transformation. Theory, research, and application in international education (pp. 154- 172). Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub.
Savicki, V., Cooley, E. & Donnelly, R. (2007). Acculturative stress, appraisal, coping, and intercultural adjustment. In V. Savicki, (Ed.), Developing intercultural competence and transformation. Theory, research, and application in international education (pp. 173- 192). Sterling, VA: Stylus Pub.
Savicki, V., Downing-Burnette, R., Heller, L., Binder, F., & Suntinger, W. (2004). Contrasts, changes, and correlates in actual and potential intercultural adjustment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 28, 311-329.
Searle, W. & Ward, C. (1990). Prediction of psychological and sociocultural adjustment during cross-cultural transitions. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 14, 449-464.
Searle, W. & Ward, C. (1999). The prediction of psychological and sociocultural adjustment during cross-cultural transitions. International Journal of International Relations, 14, 449-464.
Spencer-Oatey, H. & Xiong, Z. (2006). Chinese student’s psychological and sociocultural adjustments to Britain: An empirical study. Language Culture and Curriculum, 19(1), 37-53.
Talburt, S. & Stewart, M.A. (1999). What’s the subject of study abroad?: Race, gender, and “living culture”. The Modern Language Journal, 83(2), 163-175
Vande Berg, M. (2007). Intervening in the learning of U.S. students abroad. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11, 392-399.
Vande Berg, M. (2008, October 13). Intervening in students learning abroad: A research based inquiry. Paper presented at the International Education Conference, Moving Beyond Mobility, Berlin, Germany. Retrieved February 10, 2012 from http://www.movingbeyondmobility.org/
Vande Berg, M. (2009). Intervening in the learning of U.S. study abroad. Journal of Studies in International Education. 11(3-4), 392-399.
Ward, C. (2001). The A, B, Cs of acculturation. In D. Matsumoto (Ed.), The handbook of culture and psychology (pp. 411-445). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ward, C. & Chang, W.C. (1997). “Cultural fit”: A new perspective on personality and sojourner adjustment. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 21(4), 525-533.
Ward, C. & Kennedy, A. (1993). Where’s the “culture” in cross-cultural transition? Comparative studies of sojourner adjustment. Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, 24, 221-249.
Ward, C. & Kennedy, A. (1994). Acculturation strategies, psychological adjustments, and socio-cultural competence during cross-cultural transition. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 18, 329-343.
Ward, C. & Kennedy, A. (1999). The measurement of sociocultural adaptation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 22, 659-677.
Ward, C. & Searle, W. (1991) 'The impact of value discrepancies and cultural identity on psychological and sociocultural adjustment of sojourners', International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 15(2), 209-224.