Graduate Program

Communication Studies

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2019

Thesis Director

Angela S. Jacobs, Ph.D.

Thesis Committee Member

Samantha Szczur, Ph.D.

Thesis Committee Member

Elizabeth Gill, Ph.D.


Cross-cultural adaptation is not a new area of study, however, there is very little research focusing on the cross-cultural adaptation of Vietnamese students studying in America. The process of cross-cultural adaptation occurs naturally and necessarily regardless of the intentions of the individuals as long as they continuously engage in communication with the host environment and are functionally dependent on it. This research examines on the difference, the challenge and the way Vietnamese students have undergone throughout the process of adaptation from the original Asian culture to American culture, especially in the classroom context. The theoretical construct to guide the study includes the theory of cross-cultural adaptation, the model of cross-cultural adaptation process and the cross-cultural adaptation competences. The study adopts auto-ethnography as a research method, in which researcher used self-reflection as a Vietnamese graduate student studying in America to explore personal experience and connected this autobiographical story to wider cultural and social understandings. The findings of this study provides recommendations and orientations for Vietnamese students as well as Asian students in American colleges and universities and suggestions on how university communities can help international students in their process of adapting to host culture.