Date of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Thomas O'Brien

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Lilian Hill

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Holly Foster

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Christopher Miles

Committee Member 4 School

Social Science and Global Studies


In the past decade, Chinese international students have been found as one of the largest international student groups at American institutions across the country. However, the American Deep South was not less frequently studied in the past. Due to the distinctiveness of the Deep South, the researcher conducted this qualitative research on Chinese international students studying in this historically and culturally distinctive region. Mississippi was chosen as a representative state of the Deep South in the current study. The researcher collected data from in-depth interviews from three publicly funded institutions in Mississippi. Besides reporting many common issues regarding to cultural adaptation to their institutions, which were frequently discussed in previous studies, uncommon issues due to the distinctiveness of the South were also reported. The researcher also focused on identifying adaptation issues related to the fields of study of the participants, namely, social sciences and humanities and STEM. Qualitative differences between the two groups also shed light on how fields of study have affected these participants’ experiences of adapting to their host institutions and socializing within the campus community.