International Students’ Sense of Belonging and Connectedness with US Students: A Qualitative Inquiry

  • Katherine Hale
  • Julia Rivas
  • Monica Galloway BurkeEmail author


International students studying at higher education institutions in the United States experience challenges as they adjust to new environments. Social connectedness to American college students could mitigate such challenges and assist international students with social and cultural integration. Using qualitative data from interviews with 17 students, this chapter examines international students’ sense of belonging and social connectedness with US students. The study identified five primary factors influencing the students’ sense of belonging and integration with Americans, including perception of inclusion/exclusion, socialization goals and initiative, cultural adjustment factors, English communication ability, and campus support. The findings support previous research on sense of belonging and social integration of international college students. Areas in which educators and higher education professionals can encourage inclusion and positive interactions between international and domestic students are suggested.


International students Sense of belonging Social connectedness Integration Higher education 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Hale
    • 1
  • Julia Rivas
    • 1
  • Monica Galloway Burke
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Western Kentucky UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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