Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Laura Hayden

Second Advisor

Boaz Levy

Third Advisor

Meredith Whitley


Due to the limited research regarding the lived experiences of international student-athletes, the purpose of this study was to gain a more holistic understanding of international student-athletes’ process of acculturation. To date, research has largely understood acculturation as an inherently negative, distressing, and individual process where the acculturating individual is held responsible for their own acculturation outcomes. By using consensual qualitative research, seven Division I female rowers were interviewed and reflected on the impact of sport, identified meaningful support networks, and explored various facets of their acculturative experience in the United States. While challenging acculturative experiences were reported, results indicated that participants were able to adapt quickly and identified many personal strengths they developed during their transnational experience. Participants shared substantial support networks including teammate, coach, university, and home supports that greatly influenced their perceived experience and ability to cope with stressors. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the participants’ experiences was also explored. Clinical, social justice implications, and future directions are discussed.


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