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


  • Blake Hendrickson Ithaca College



Friendship networks, Study abroad program models, cross-cultural adaptation, Longitudinal design, Mixed-method, Study abroad, Education abroad


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.


Download data is not yet available.


Bochner, S., Hutnik, N., & Furnham, A. (1985). The friendship patterns of overseas and host students in an Oxford student residence. The Journal of Social Psychology, 125(6), 689-694. doi:10.1080/00224545.1985.9713540

Bochner, S., McLeod, B. M., & Lin, A. (1977). Friendship patterns of overseas students: A functional model. International Journal of Psychology, 12(4), 277-294. doi:10.1080/00207597708247396

Brebner, L. H. (2008, December). Intercultural interactions in a New Zealand university: Pakeha and Asian perspectives. Paper presented at ISANA International Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

Brown, L. (2009a). International education: a force for peace and cross-cultural understanding? Journal of Peace Education, 6(2). 209-224. doi:10.1080/17400200903086672

Brown, L. (2009b). An ethnographic study of friendship patterns of international students in England: An attempt to recreate home through conational interaction. International Journal of Educational Research, 48(3), 184–193. doi: 10.1016/j.ijer.2009.07.003

Church, A. (1982). Sojourner adjustment. Psychological Bulletin, 91, 540–572. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.91.3.540

Clark, B. (1986). The higher education system: Academic organization in cross national perspective. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

Cushner, K., & Karim, A. (2004). Study abroad at university level. In: D. Landis, J. Bennett and M. Bennett, Eds. Intercultural training London, Sage.

Engle, L., & Engle, J. (2003). Study abroad levels: Toward a classification of program types. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 9, 1-20.

Fernández, S., Fernández, S., & Vaquero, A. (2007). Proyección internacional de los sistemas de educación superior de américa latina y el Caribe. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación, 45, 159-175.

Furnham, A., & Alibhai, N. (1985). The friendship networks of foreign students: A replication and extension of the functional model. International Journal of Psychology, 20, 709-722. doi:10.1080/00207598508247565

Gareis, E. (2012). Intercultural friendship: Effects of Home and Host Region. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 5(4), 309-328. doi:10.1080/17513057.2012.691525

Giavi, P. V., Iglesia, G., & Iglesia, J. (2008). Estudiantes internacionales: Una oportunidad para la Argentina. Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires Ministerio de Desarrollo Economico. EduArgentina.

Hadis, B. F. (2005). Gauging the impact of study abroad: how to overcome the limitations of a single-cell design. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 30(1), 3-19. doi:10.1080/0260293042003243869

Hall, E. T. (1959). The Silent Language. NY: Anchor Books.

Hendrickson, B., Rosen D., & Aune, R. K. (2011). An analysis of friendship networks, social connectedness, homesickness, and satisfaction levels of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35¸ 281-295. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.08.001

Hoffa, W. W. (2007). A History of US Study Abroad: Beginnings to 1965. Carlisle: PA: Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study abroad.

Johnson, J. P., Lenartowicz, T., & Apud, S. (2006). Cross-cultural competence in international business: Toward a definition and a model. Journal of International Business Studies, 37, 525-543. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400205

Kim, Y. Y. (2001). Becoming Intercultural: An integrative theory of communication and cross-cultural adaptation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Maundeni, T. (2001). The role of social networks in the adjustment of African students to British society: Student’s perceptions. Race Ethnicity and Education, 4, 253-276. doi: 10.1080/13613320120073576

McPherson, A. (2006). Intimate Ties, Bitter Struggles: The United States and Latin America since 1945. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books.

Ministerio de Educación de Argentina (MEA). (2010). Promoción de la Universidad. Retrieved from: tematica/promocion/promocion _inicio.html.

Menard, S. (2002). Longitudinal Research Series, 2nd ed. Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences, vol. 67. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Miles, M., & Huberman, M. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis. An Expanded Sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Neri, F., & Ville, S. (2008). Social capital renewal and the academic performance of international students in Australia. The Journal of Socio-Economics, 37, 1515-1538. doi:10.1016/j.socec.2007.03.010

Nogueira, R. M., & Góngora, N (2000). Evaluacion de la gestion universitaria. Report prepared for the National Evaluation and Accreditation Commission. Argentina: CONEAU.

Peacock, N., & Harrison, N. (2009). “It’s so much easier to go with what’s easy: “Mindfulness” and the discourse between home and international students in the United Kingdom. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(4), 487-508. doi:10.1177/1028315308319508

Pedersen, P. J. (2009). Teaching towards an ethnorelative worldview through psychology study abroad. Intercultural Education, 20, (73-86). doi: 10.1080/14675980903370896

Pitts, M. J. (2009). Identity and the role of expectations, stress, and talk in short-term student sojourner adjustment: An application of the integrative theory of communication and cross-cultural adaptation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33, 450-462. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2009.07.002

Pruitt, F. J. (1978). The adaptation of African students to American society. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 2, 90-118. doi:10.1016/0147-1767(78)90030-5

Quacquarelli Symonds Limited (QS). (2013). QS Latin American University Rankings 2013. Retrieved from university-rankings/latin-american-university-rankings/2013

Rienties, B., Nanclares, N. H., Jindal-Snape, D., & Alcott, P. (2013). The role of cultural background and team divisions in developing social learning relations in the classroom. Journal of Studies in International Education, 17, 332-353. doi:10.1177/1028315312463826

Rodman, R. & Merrill, M. (2010). Unlocking study abroad potential: Design models, methods and masters. In Hoffa, W. W., & DePaul, S. C, A History of US Study Abroad: 1965-Present (pp.199-251). Carlisle: PA: Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study abroad.

Rogers, E. M., & Kincaid, D. L. (1981). Communication networks: Toward a new paradigm for research. New York: Free Press.

Rohrlich, B. F., & Martin, J. N. (1991). Host country and reentry adjustment of student sojourners. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 15, 163–182. doi:10.1016/0147-1767(91)90027-E

Saavedra, A. (2012, August 7). Tenemos que repensar la Universidad. Interview with Michael Buroway, president of the International Sociology Association. Página/12 online.

Salisbury, M. H., Paulsen, M. B., & Pascarella, E. T. (2010). To see the world or stay at home: Applying an integrated student choice model to explore the gender gap in the intent to study abroad. Research in Higher Education, 51, 615-640. doi:10.1007/s11162-010-9171-6

Savicki, V. (2010). An analysis of the contact types of study abroad students: The peer cohort, the host culture and the electronic presence of the home culture in relation to readiness and outcomes. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study abroad, 19, 61-86.

Savicki, V., Arrúe, C., & Binder, F. (2013). Language fluency and study abroad adaptation, Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study abroad, XXII, 37-57.

Sawir, E., Marginson, S, Deumert, A., Nyland, C., & Ramia, G. (2008). Loneliness and international students: An Australian study. Journal of Studies in International Education, 12(2), 148-180. doi:10.1177/1028315307299699

Smink, V. (2013). Argentina, un imán para los estudiantes universitarios. BBCMundoonline, Retrieved from: noticias/2013/05/130524_argentina_ estudiantes_extranjeros_vs.shtml

Sudweeks, S., Gudykunst, W. B., Ting-Toomey, S., & Nishida, T. (1990). Developmental themes in Japanese-North American interpersonal relationships. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 14, 207-233. doi:10.1016/0147-1767(90)90006-I

Teddlie, C., & Yu, F. (2007). Mixed Methods Sampling: A typology with examples. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1, 77-100. doi:10.1177/2345678906292430

Tian, M. & Lowe, J. A. (2013). Intercultural identity and intercultural experiences of American Students in China. Journal of Studies in International Education, XX(X), 1-17. doi:10.1177/1028315313496582

Trice, A. D., & Elliot, J. (1993). Japanese students in America: College friendship patterns. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 20(3), 262-265.

Universia. (2007). Estudiantes Extranjeros en Argentina. Retrieved from:

US Department of Education. (2012). FAFSA Federal School Code search. Retrieved from locale=en_EN

US State Department. (2011). 100,000 Strong in the Americas. United States Department of State, Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Retrieved from:

Vande Berg, M. (2007). Intervening in the learning of U.S. students abroad. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11, 392-399. doi: 10.1177/1028315307303924

Vande Berg, M. J., Balkcum, A., Scheid, M., & Whalen, B. J. (2004). Consortium project: A report at the halfway mark. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 1-16.

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. doi: 10.1177/0022022193242006

Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: methods and applications. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wiarda, H. J. (1981). The ethnocentrism of the social science implications for research and policy. The Review of Politics, 43(2), 163-197. doi: 10.1017/S0034670500029715

Woolf, M. (2007). Impossible things before breakfast: Myths in education abroad. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11, 496-509. doi: 10.1177/1028315307304186

Ying, Y. W. (2002). Formation of cross-cultural relationships of Taiwanese international students in the United States, Journal of Community Psychology, 30(1), 45-55. doi: 10.1002/jcop.1049

Zhang, J., & Goodson, P. (2011). Predictors of international students’ psychosocial adjustment to life in the United States: A systematic review. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35, 139-162. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.11.011




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.



Research Articles