Psychological and Sociocultural Adaptation among Short-Stay and Long-Stay International Students in Utrecht, the Netherlands
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Moving to and studying in a new country requires adaptation skills for students to stay emotionally and socially healthy. The purpose of this research was to study psychological and sociocultural adaptation skills for short-stay and long-stay international students enrolled at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. The two research questions focused on how international students adapt psychologically and socioculturally to the Dutch culture, and what the differences in adaptation are between short-stay and long-stay international students. A quantitative survey was conducted with 154 participants from all around the world, with 89 participants identified as short-stay and 65 participants identified as long-stay international students. The analysis of the results shows overall good adaptation scores for both groups, but short-stay students score better than long-stay students on both the psychological adaptation scale and the sociocultural adaptation scale. No major significant differences were found between the groups on both scales, however, some of the separate items showed significant differences between the population groups. Additionally, both hypotheses that host country’s language proficiency and English (academic) language proficiency positively contribute to sociocultural adaptation of international students were supported. The results may help universities or international student unions to offer additional support programs to incoming or long-stay students.