Departmental Bulletin Paper An Analysis of an International Student's Background and Initial Intercultural Adjustment to Life at Kagoshima University


This paper explores the background and intercultural experiences of Kei Wakamatsu, a Chinese Malaysian student, during her first year and a half at Kagoshima University. To investigate these experiences, interviews were conducted in August of 2014 and September of 2015 and then the content of the interviews was compared to research in intercultural adaptation, second language acquisition and cultural differences. The analysis showed that Ms. Wakamatsu passed through some stages of intercultural adaptation, experincing difficulty particularly during the crisis stage, due to insufficient Japanese language skills and cultural differences. Recently, however, Ms. Wakamatsu's Japanese language skills have improved and she has now become more adjusted to her life at Kagoshima University. Yet she stil encounters communication barriers with Japanese students and does not feel completely accepted by them. While there is no doubt that Ms. Wakamatsu must continue to make an effort to learn Japanese language and learn about cultural differences, Japanese universities as well as Japanese society as a whole must also change to become more accepting of people with different cultural backgrounds.

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