Due to the growth in the number of international students attending universities in Texas and the need to provide appropriate counseling services to them, nine international students were interviewed about their experiences of transitioning from their home country to college in rural Texas. The authors employed the transcendental phenomenological approach to qualitative research (Moustakas, 1994) which allowed for the following seven emergent themes were identified that described the participants’ experiences: American TV; Knowing Someone; Like a Movie; Everybody Saying Hi; Transportation is Inconvenient; I Miss Noodles; and Being Optimistic. The emergent themes provided the basis for implications and recommendations for counseling services with the international student populations. Implications and recommendations for counselors on college campuses include, but are not limited to: actively collaborating with international student services, participating in new international student orientation services, and developing preemptive approaches to assisting international student during their transitions The authors make recommendations for further qualitative research and focus groups inquiries should be conducted by college counselors to better inform outreach services, for campus counseling and career service center, directed at assisting international students during their numerous transitions (Lértora et al., 2017).


International Students, Phenomenology, Transition, Social Integration

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Ian M. Lértora is an assistant professor in Counselor Education at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Ian has worked in various settings over the past 3 years that include trauma-focused play therapy, community counseling, college counseling, and career counseling. His areas of research are college student transitions, international student transitions, and developing innovative and interactive teaching strategies for counselors and counselor educators. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: ian.lertora@ttu.edu.

Dr. Richard C. Henriksen, Jr. is a Professor of Counselor Education in the Department of Counselor Education at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas and is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and National Certified Counselor. Dr. Henriksen specializes in multicultural issues with an emphasis on the multiple heritage population and those challenged with acute psychological issues.

Jesse Starkey, M.A., has worked extensively in Student Affairs at the university level, specifically in areas serving international students. She has also been responsible for programming and development of international conferences related to global issues. Her research interests include international student transition experiences and student affairs best practices for serving international student populations.

Dr. Chi-Sing Li is an Associate Professor at the Counselor Education Department of Sam Houston State University. Dr. Li is an LPC-S and LMFT-S in the state of Texas; he’s been a counselor/counselor supervisor for over 20 years. His clinical work focuses on employee assistance programs, couple and family counseling and crisis intervention. He’s involved in multiple Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISDs), one of which is conducted in response to the 911 bombing of the Twin Towers in New York. He and Dr. Sheryl Serres are the Chapter Faculty Sponsors of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Dr. Li is also the Chapter Faculty Co-Advisor of the Chi Sigma and Iota Counseling and Academic and Professional Honor Society International.


Special thanks to all the international students who participated and shared their experiences with the researchers you time and experiences are valued.

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