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East Meets West: The Adaptation of Vietnamese International Students to California Community Colleges

By Tam Huu Do


This study explores seven adaptation aspects that include language and communication, cultural awareness, loneliness and isolation, new educational settings, financial concerns, gender-based differences, and the political impact of the anti-communist Vietnamese American community. Based on Person/Environment Interactionism theory, case studies of eight students from Vietnam at two Southern California community colleges are considered utilizing data derived from weekly diaries, individual interviews, a final group meeting, and academic records. The students’ prior assumptions and expectations are identified and their coping strategies to various adaptation issues are documented and analyzed. The ethnic diversity of Orange County generally facilitated the students’ adaptation efforts in the aspects of language and communications, cultural awareness, and loneliness and isolation. The students seemed to readily adapt to the new educational settings and excel academically despite some different educational practices. There were no apparent gender-based differences in the students’ adaptation. However, unwelcoming attitudes from the anti-communist members of the Vietnamese American community adversely impacted the international students’ socialization with Vietnamese Americans, but did not impact their academic performance

Topics: Special aspects of education, LC8-6691, Education, L, DOAJ:Education, DOAJ:Social Sciences, Communities. Classes. Races, HT51-1595
Publisher: National Association for the Education and Advancement of Cambodian, Laotian, and Vietnamese Americans
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:b741bec869e540db8c2cc2da42dec2cf
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