Social ties and sojourner adjustment of Thai students in Oahu, Hawai'i

Jamklai, Varaporn
Ady, Jeffrey
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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It has been hypothesized that sojourners who establish social ties with hosts tend to adjust to the new environment more effectively than those who maintain primarily co-ethnic ties or ties with individual from the same ethnic background. Several studies have shown that social ties with hosts help sojourners acquire host language proficiency, learn culture knowledge, and gain appropriate social skills. These qualities, therefore, are hypothesized to relate to the ability to "fit in" or meet environmental demands of the new culture (environmental-centric). Other researchers, however, believe that co-ethnic social ties are crucial in providing immediate psychological support, which helps increase the feeling of similarity, belonging, acceptance, and assurance for the sojourner. These feelings are viewed as helping to reduce sojourner anxiety, as well as make the sojourn experience more endurable. Co-ethnic ties, therefore, may have a significant relationship on the ability of sojourners to meet their needs (sojourner-centric). The purpose of this survey study is to examine using eight hypotheses the relationship between co-ethnic and host social ties and the two domains of sojourner adjustment using Ady's Sojourner Adjustment Scale (SAS). In the present study, social ties include the self-reported frequency of interaction and the level of personal closeness between co-ethnic and host members. The two domains of adjustment include self-reported ability of Thai students to meet one's own needs (sojourner-centric) and ability to meet the expectation/requirements of a new environment (environmental-centric). Due to the virtual absence of similar studies utilizing this group, Thai students on Oʻahu are the unit of analysis in this survey research. The study sample consists of 62 Thai college students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa (UHM), Hawaiʻi Pacific University (HPU), Brigham Young University (BYU), Japan and America Institute of Management Science (JAIMS), and two Oʻahu community colleges. The results of this study indicated that the ability of Thai students to meet their own needs or meet the requirements of the host environment were not strongly related to how frequently they interact with either Thai or non-Thai individuals. Moreover, the ability of the Thai students to meet their own needs or meet the requirements of the host environment were not related to how close (personally) they feel toward either Thai or non-Thai individuals. The findings from the present, therefore, did not support the results from other studies dealing with social ties and sojourner adjustment of international students.
ix, 102 leaves
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Theses for the degree of Master of Arts (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Communication; no. 3068
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