Intercultural contacts and acculturation resources among International students in Australia: A mixed-methods study

Andre A. Pekerti, Fons J.r. Van De Vijver, Miriam Moeller, Tyler G. Okimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores the impact of acculturation conditions, orientations and outcomes on international students in Australia's tertiary education sector. Specifically, we investigate the factors that facilitate or hinder acculturation of international students within a multidimensional acculturation context (Arends-Tóth & van de Vijver, 2006). We used a sequential exploratory mixed-methods design in two studies to investigate acculturation of international students at an Australian university and test how these factors are related to psychological and sociocultural outcomes. In Study 1, we conducted a generic qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with a conventional content analyses approach,which compared the experiences of international students who on average had high numbers of positive experiences versus those who had high numbers of negative experiences. We found that a support network of mixed-nationals, and especially host locals, facilitates positive psychological and sociocultural adjustment, and buffers acculturative stress. Study 2 quantitatively tested the association of factors found in Study 1 (perceived stereotypes, intercultural and ethnic network/resources) with psychological and sociocultural acculturation outcomes. Study 2, shows that perceived negative stereotypes loosen ties with the dominant (host) culture and reinforces ties with the ethnic (non-host) culture. The social resources associated with either culture was found to be useful for acculturation, with both independently contributing to participant well-being. Contact with host locals played a particularly crucial role in developing these resources. Our findings provide foundations for pragmatic policy implications, suggesting value in the development of formally organized contact programs in the early sojourn experience of international students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-81
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Acculturation
  • Ethnic resources
  • Intercultural contacts
  • Intercultural resources
  • Negative stereotypes
  • Networks


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