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Title

The Adjustment Problems Of Latin American Students Attending Selected California Universities

Date of Award

1980

Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Abstract

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to identify the academic and non-academic problems of adjustment to the American culture and educational system as perceived by Latin American students attending selected California universities. A second purpose was to identify and compare the differences in problems perceived in undergraduate male and female Latin American students from their respective viewpoints. A third purpose was to identify the expected readjustment problems when the students return to their countries. The fourth purpose was to determine the nature and the helpfulness of the orientation program needed before the students came to the U.S., and after their arrival. Procedure. The survey questionnaire method was used to obtain the relevant data from the Latin American students. The sample population of this study consisted of 240 undergraduate students who met the criteria set for the inclusion of the students to be studied. The responses to the questionnaire statement by number of students who actually responded, were analyzed by using percentages and one way analysis of variance at the .05 level of significance. Conclusions. The findings of this study indicated that: (1) The major academic problems encountered by Latin American students were found to be in the basic communication areas and of writing, reading, and oral skills. In addition, students found it difficult to participate in classroom discussion because of their lack of confidence in their general use of the English language. Students did not receive adequate assistance in academic program planning in courses that were compatible with the needs and goals of their native countries. (2) Major non-academic problems related to the unavailability of sufficient financial aid, insufficient international news relating to the political status of their country, adjusting to social interaction, food, time orientation, household chores. (3) There were minor significant differences between males and females in their perception of academic and non-academic problems. (4) No significant differences existed between males and females in their opinions of the problems they will encounter upon returning home. The major area of concern of both males and females groups was primarily centered upon the fear that new innovations would not be accepted in their countries. (5) The findings indicated a high percentage of students who participated neither in an orientation program in the American universities nor in Latin American universities. Recommendations. (1) A complete program of orientation should include a predeparture orientation offered by their native country governments or sponsoring institutions. (2) The American universities should provide an extensive orientation program in both academic and non-academic areas. (3) It would be helpful if the foreign student be met by an American student sponsor who would help him/her find housing, facilitating their initial adjustment to the new environment. (4) Periodical meetings with the Foreign Students Advisor and academic Advisor would give an opportunity to Latin American students of communicating with others in seeking solutions to their problems. (5) Students should be proficient in communication skills before starting their academic program. (6) The academic curriculum in American universities should include practical training and field work experiences in the areas of study undertaken by Latin American students.

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