Comparing International Student Friendship Networks in Buenos Aires: Direct Enrollment Program vs. Study Abroad Centers

  • Blake Hendrickson Ithaca College
Keywords: Friendship networks, Study abroad program models, cross-cultural adaptation, Longitudinal design, Mixed-method, Study abroad, Education abroad

Abstract

A robust pattern identified in the cross-cultural adaptation and international education literature shows that upon arrival in a new cultural environment international students tend to form new friendships with individuals from their own countries while failing to develop relationships with those from the host country. This is problematic considering that communication with host nationals lies at the heart of the cross-cultural adaptation process and host national friendship is associated with a diverse set of positive outcomes. A historical debate among university administrators, international educators, and scholars as to the most effective way to arrange study abroad initiatives pivots around the amount of interaction that students have with the local culture. In order to examine the impact that study abroad program models have on friendship networks this study employs a mixed-method, longitudinal strategy to compare the friendship networks of 105 international students enrolled in 10 different study abroad programs and universities in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Results show that students studying directly at Argentine Public and Private Universities have significantly more Argentine and other international student friends while students in US-based Island programs have significantly more friends form their own country. These findings reveal the central role that study abroad administration plays in the interpersonal interaction that international students have with individuals from the host country, provide several explanations for the current trends, and give implications for study abroad administration.

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Published
2016-04-28
How to Cite
Hendrickson, B. (2016). Comparing International Student Friendship Networks in Buenos Aires: Direct Enrollment Program vs. Study Abroad Centers. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 27(1), 47-69. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v27i1.374
Section
Research Articles