Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Laura M. Westhoff


Cody Ding

E. Wendy Saul

William C. Kyle, Jr.


This study examines the challenges and stressors Chinese international undergraduate students face while attending the University of Missouri - St. Louis (UMSL) in relation to their study abroad experience. Surveys were initially used to gather information and to gauge students’ familiarity and use of university support services available to help with specific challenges and stressors. Follow-up interviews were conducted to collect additional in-depth data. As consistent with the literature review, the study found that UMSL students confronted language barriers, academic challenges, and cultural differences when transitioning to UMSL’s academic culture and social environment. Additionally, financial stresses were exacerbated by issues related to filial piety and U.S. policy requirements for international students. This dissertation offers background information on the contexts of UMSL’s Chinese international undergraduates, in order to help the host institution better recruit and retain its Chinese international student population.