Research on intercultural communication has centered on the difficulties that international students experience during their adjusting journey in their new residence away from home. However, there are relatively few in-depth studies that report on international students’ perceptions of communicative practices from university officials. Following a social phenomenological approach, this study focuses on understanding the impressions and experiences of 12 international students. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews centered on three sensitizing concepts: intercultural sensitivity (IS), intercultural communication competence (ICC), and intercultural learning (IL). Data were analyzed using an iterative phonetic approach as described by Sarah Tracy (2019). The findings were organized under seven themes that explain cultural differences from home, perceptions of effective intercultural communication with university officials, and experiences that reveal room for improvement. This study lends support to the existing literature on intercultural communication and provides recommendations for university officials to encourage inclusive multicultural environments.

Date of publication

Summer 8-17-2022

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Ashleigh Day, Dr. Jaclyn Marsh, and Dr. Terry Britt


Master of Arts in Communication