Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University


International students face challenges as they transition to higher education in the United States. In this article, we explore that transition process when it intersects with an institution in a rural setting. We used Schlossberg’s transition theory—with a particular emphasis on the 4Ss of situation, self, support, and strategies—as the theoretical framework for this case study, and we found that the situation for international students in this transition was fraught with concurrent stressors of isolation, food, and safety. While their sense of self included a strong desire to experience United States culture and language, they struggled apart from familiar support networks, leaving them reliant upon the institution of higher education for support. When struggling through the transition process, students often used the strategies of social withdrawal and inhibition of engagement behaviors. We conclude with recommended interventions to situational stresses for rural institutions and further research opportunities.