Adaptation and Acculturation of International Students in Croatia
Studying abroad provides intellectual and personal enrichment and offers a lot of positive experiences. But the confrontation with a foreign culture and educational system can sometimes lead to adaptation problems with negative emotional and physical symptoms. The objectives of this study were to investigate the acculturation, psychological and social symptoms of adaptation in a sample of international university students in Croatia.
The research was carried out on a sample of 141 Erasmus students (106 females) who came from European countries to Croatia. Four questionnaires developed by Demes & Geeraert (2014) were used: Brief Acculturation Orientation Scale, Brief Psychological Adaptation Scale, Brief Sociocultural Adaptation Scale, Brief Perceived Cultural Distance Scale.
With regards to acculturation orientation, participants in this research have significantly higher orientation to the host culture, indicating that they have a tendency to assimilate. In general, better psychological adaptation is observed in females, older students and those who are more satisfied with their social life in the host country. Participants who adapted socioculturally better are also from an older age group, are more satisfied with their social situation, showed a higher orientation towards Croatia and perceived their host culture to be more similar to their home culture.
Multiple regression results indicated that satisfaction with social situation seems to have a particular impact on adaptation, both psychological and sociocultural. The results provide an indication of those areas in which international students adapt well or need help and support, which can be useful for the work of universities and student counselling centres.