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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Linda Webster

First Committee Member

Joanna Royce-Davis


Student sense of belonging in universities is tied to increased retention rates and satisfaction with university experience. However, international students may be experiencing low levels of belonging, especially with American students. From a survey that asked students about their sense of belonging to the university, with American students, and with other international students, it was found that ethnic background had an impact on the level of belonging and connection. Through interviews with four Chinese females and two Caucasian males, further information was gathered about their experiences that contributed to or inhibited their sense of belonging. Themes such as discrimination, levels of English fluency, and participation in groups on campus emerged as some factors for why some students felt a high sense of belonging when others felt a low sense of belonging. Suggestions for how to improve university services to increase sense of belonging were addressed at the end of the study.





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