The cross-cultural adjustment of Taiwanese postgraduate students in England
This thesis critically reviews, evaluates and synthesizes theories of cross-cultural adjustment and international students’ sojourn activities, and develops a multi-layered and dynamic framework of cross-cultural adjustment. Empirical evidence, collected from the experience of Taiwanese postgraduate students in the UK, is used to build a grounded theory of cross-cultural adjustment. The process of cross-cultural adjustment is examined in terms of four key dimensions - self-identity, academic pursuit, affection and sojourn life-experience - each of which is broken down into more specific components (categories and sub-categories) according to the interview responses of the student sample. The result is an in-depth appreciation of the wide range of factors that contribute to the experience and challenge of cross-cultural adjustment for Taiwanese postgraduate students. For each of the four dimensions, certain core conditions are shown to give rise to specific adjustment phenomena which are shaped by certain contextual factors, and these phenomena give rise to a characteristic strategic response by the students, which then yields a specific consequence. The study shows that cross-cultural adjustment is a continuous process in which international students establish emotional alignment through social interaction and the articulation of their self-identity. The study provides a conceptual framework for future research into cross-cultural adjustment within different host countries, and also serves as a basis to help universities anticipate and manage effectively the adjustment problems faced by international students.