Table of Contents
Author(s): Rabab H. Darwish; Kristina N. LaVenia; Frederick W. Polkinghorne
Objective: The authors sought to develop a better understanding of the sense of belonging to international students enrolled in graduate-level business programs. Background: A theoretical framework exists to support the sense of belonging as a significant predictor of academic persistence. However, a paucity of literature exists that investigates international students’ sense of belonging in graduate-level programs.Method: The qualitative case-study research method was used to collect data via semi-structured focus groups and interviews with 13 participants. Data were recorded, transcribed, themed, and coded to establish research findings.Results: Participants reported barriers such as loneliness, isolation, immobility, and language barriers in the development of academic and social belonging.Conclusion: Campus-based support services focus on integrating international students into the campus community. However, little effort is placed on helping domestic students support the sense of belonging to their international peers. Furthermore, there is some evidence indicating that international students either failed to engage or were unaware of services that might help them overcome social and academic barriers. Application: Educational institutions should improve the ease of access, enhance existing, and develop additional services to help improve the sense of belonging to international students.