Original Articles

Cultural Adjustment of International Students at an African University

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 20, issue 1, 2010 , pages: 79–84
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2010.10820345
Author(s): Tapologo MaundeniUniversity of Botswana,, Tumani MalingaUniversity of Botswana,, Diana KgwatalalaUniversity of Botswana,, Ibirige KasuleUniversity of Botswana,


The study explored the cultural adjustment needs of international students enrolled with an African university. Participants were 33 students (males = 13, females = 20). They took part in-depth individual interviews and focus group discussions on pertinent adjustment needs. Data gathered from the interviews were transcribed and content analysis was performed. Findings suggested adjustment needs were ameliorated by available opportunities such as presence of supportive people, availability of services and academic facilities, political stability, as well as individual qualities such as self determination and inner strength. Challenges such as language problems, lack of social support networks, financial problems and role strain made student adjustment problematic. Prospective solutions to these needs included implementing comprehensive orientation programmes; expanding support networks for international students; improving information dissemination about available services on campus and outside as well as empowering students with knowledge and skills to cope with psychological challenges of adjustment.

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