International Students’ Perspectives on the Importance of Obtaining Social Support from Host National Students

  •  Julie Chuah    
  •  Manjet Singh    


Students pursuing studies in a foreign land experience a disruption or loss of familiar support networks that function as powerful coping mechanisms in times of stress. Loss of social support has been associated with negative consequences such as depression, anxiety and loneliness. Researchers have categorized social support as emotional, practical, informational and in the form of social companionship. This study reports the findings of a study involving undergraduate international students pursuing their first degrees in four research universities in Malaysia. Using the quantitative methodology, a total of 400 questionnaires were distributed to international undergraduates with a return of 318 questionnaires. Results showed that many international students desired frequent social support from host national students in all four categories. Suggestions are made to institutions of higher learning to create a more supportive and conducive environment for intercultural contact in line with the efforts of internationalization.

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