Dissertation Defense Announcement
College of Arts and Sciences announces the Final Dissertation Defense of
for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
May 2, 2019 at 9:00 AM in Patterson Hall, Room 448
Advisor: Emily A Thrush
Sociocultural and academic acculturation challenges encountered by Saudi female students in the United States
ABSTRACT: Coming from a completely different culture, Saudi female students encounter a number of challenges adapting to the American culture. These acculturation challenges may affect their academic, social, and life experiences in the United States. The purpose of this study was to explore the acculturation challenges encountered by Saudi female students in the United States and their strategies to cope with their challenges. The study also aimed to investigate the role of participants' demographic variables and the historical changes in Saudi Arabia on their experiences in the United States. To achieve these objectives, a mixed methods research was adopted implementing an online survey and semi-structured interviews. Data were collected from 100 Saudi female students living and studying in different parts of the United States. Results showed that social challenges were the most difficult acculturation challenge encountered by Saudi female students in the United States, followed by cultural challenges and familial obligations. Discrimination challenges, on the other hand, appeared to be the least challenging issue facing Saudi female students in the United States. Coping with their different challenges, Saudi female students adopted a variety of strategies that helped them adjust to their new environment. Exploring the role of Saudi female students' demographic variables on their acculturation challenges in the United States, participants' demographic variables of age, living in big city or small town, previous overseas experiences, educational level, English skills self-rating, and marital status seemed to significantly influence Saudi female students' experiences in the United States. However, there was no significant relationship between participants' acculturation challenges and their regions of origins in Saudi Arabia, regions of residence in the United States, length of residence in the United States, and children. For the effect of the recent changes in Saudi Arabia on Saudi female students' experiences in the United States and the way they perceive themselves, a number of positive aspects and effects were highlighted by the participants such as the empowerment of Saudi women, gaining more freedom, receiving equal job opportunities, and becoming stronger, more confident, more independent, and more excited to work hard and go back to Saudi Arabia.