Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2013


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education and Supervision (ExCES)


School of Education

Committee Chair

William Casile

Committee Member

Jocelyn Gregoire

Committee Member

Maura Krushinski

Committee Member

Lori Cangilla


Acculturation, Cross-cultural experience, Indian international students, Phenomenology, Resilience


The student demographics in American universities have been changing in recent years and the result is a rapidly increasing enrollment of international students. In particular, the Indian international student population has grown to be the second largest, with over 100,000 students enrolling at post-secondary educational institutions across the nation each year (Institute of International Education, 2010). However, research on the effects of migration on international students is relatively devoid of critical explorations on the resilient responses by Indian international students to the effects of acculturation. This hermeneutic phenomenological study explores the lived experiences of eight Indian international graduate students at a mid-western American university. The participants' descriptions of their psychological, physical and behavioral adjustments in the United States provided rich information. The data was analyzed using the theoretical underpinnings of the research that included Van Manen's (1997) lived existentials, ecological factors of human development (Bronfenbrenner, 1986), and protective and risk factors associated with resilience (Harvey, 2007; Luther, 2006). Several primary and sub-themes emerged from a thick analysis of the data, which proved to shed light on the lived experiences of the participants.

Participants in the study typically faced challenges in adjusting to cultural differences, building relationships with domestic students, and adapting to academic expectations. However, protective factors including their positive attitudes and supportive relationships with their families, professors, and other Indian students helped them in responding resiliently to challenges related to cross-cultural transitions. In addition, hypotheses were generated and implications for education, research, and practice of counseling were discussed.