, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 210–211 | Cite as

Student Visa Approved, Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Being a Legal Alien in American Graduate School

  • Tugce AldemirEmail author
  • Eunsung Park
Column: Graduate Member Musings

Excitement, Fear, and Questions

We are sharing our experiences during the acculturation process through three autoethnographic vignettes to reflect on the kind of challenges and opportunities an international graduate student can encounter. It has been more valuable, wonderful and challenging than we thought. Ready to take a huge step forward in our career, we were passionate, determined, and fearless during the application process. As we received our acceptance letters to graduate school, these feelings were accompanied by:
  • the excitement of accomplishing a long-lasting dream and opening a gate to the new experiences and opportunities,

  • the fear of unknown and loneliness, and

  • millions of questions about anything that can be imagined about moving to USA.

When we arrived here, what we noticed was that there were several challenges accompanied by several opportunities. For this column, we picked three major ones among all, and we are elaborating them through three vignettes from our lives.


Social Norm Native Speaker Front Seat Educational Agent Student Visa 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This column entry was inspired by the encouragement and guidance of Dr. Jason Engerman and Jonlee Anderle, two invaluable past presidents of AECT GSA.


  1. Mallinckrodt, B., & Leong, F. T. (1992). International graduate students, stress, and social support. Journal of College Student Development, 33(1), 71–78.Google Scholar
  2. Yeh, C. J., & Inose, M. (2003). International students' reported English fluency, social support satisfaction, and social connectedness as predictors of acculturative stress. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 16(1), 15–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications & Technology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pennsylvania State University, University ParkState CollegeUSA

Personalised recommendations