A case study on the international students’ social adaptability in Taiwan: A qualitative study


Lewis, Amy
University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China (alewis@hku.edu)

Ching, Gregory S.*
Lunghwa University of Science and Technology, Taiwan, ROC (gregory_ching@yahoo.com)

Su, Yu Nan
National Dong Hwa University, Hualien, Taiwan, ROC (foci@mail.ndhu.edu.tw)


Nowadays, the social network of human beings has been an important issue across different disciplines. However, human beings’ social adaptabilities can directly influence how they can establish their social networks. Within the academe, students who go abroad (more commonly known as international students) has the opportunity to learn all kinds of knowledge within various cultures and educational training approaches. Within such concepts of study abroad, socio-cultural issues are deemed important gate-keepers in having a successful international experience. In light of such issues, the current presentation shall showcase the findings of a case study accomplished at a social science university in Taiwan during the 2009 school year. The main purpose of this study is to explore the critical factors that influence the international students’ social adaptations. This qualitative study uses both individual and focus group interviews to strengthen the data gathering procedures. A total of 30 international students from 15 countries were invited and interviewed. Data analysis includes constant comparison of gathered facts and generating meaning from the transcribed information. Results show that international students’ social adaptabilities (social adaptive skills) can have a direct influence on how they establish their social networks. Some major factors include the availability of cross-cultural opportunities such as foods in night markets, numerous scenic places to visits, and coupled with easy access to mass transportation. The international students’ social adaptability is further reinforced by the friendly and receptive nature of Taiwan individuals towards cultural diversity. Lastly, this study also relays some recommendations international students mentioned that will be able to better enhance their study experience.

Keywords: social adaptability; cross-cultural adaptation; international student; qualitative method; internationalization of higher education


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrsp.2012.161

*Corresponding Author