Navigating the cultural transition alone: psychosocial adjustment of Korean early study abroad students

Hyun J.oo Kim, Sumie Okazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Precollege study abroad in English-speaking countries is an increasingly popular educational strategy among Asian families. We used grounded theory method to construct a model of cultural adjustment process for unaccompanied minors based the retrospective narratives of 10 (8 male) South Korean adolescents who came to the United States, unaccompanied by parents, to attend middle schools or high schools. We found that unaccompanied minors' cultural adjustment progressed from their predeparture ambivalence to initial sense of vulnerability to an eventual sense of reengagement. Unaccompanied minor students' pervasive sense of vulnerability upon arrival was heightened not only by their lack of English fluency but also their reluctance to seek the support of parents in Korea and of local Korean peers. This study has implications for educators and counselors in secondary schools who work with international students who are unaccompanied minors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-253
Number of pages10
JournalCultural diversity & ethnic minority psychology
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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