Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Applied Linguistics (M.A.)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Dr. Dan Brown

Second Advisor

Dr. Colleen Brice

Third Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Remlinger

Academic Year



Research on international students’ experiences in tertiary institutions abroad suggest they face difficulties related to culture, language, and socialization (e.g., Andrade, 2006; Hellsten, 2002). To encourage more successful socialization and English language development, the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission established a cap on the enrollment of Saudi students in any institutions abroad since 2014. The effectiveness of these quotas in promoting socialization is not known, but anecdotal evidence and an exploratory study conducted by the author suggest other (perhaps more influential) factors affecting Saudi students’ opportunities for socialization (in this study defined more specifically as sojourner acculturation) and subsequent language development. Previous studies of international students’ social adjustment that included Saudis found they face challenges because of their social, cultural, educational, language and religious backgrounds linked to fundamental differences in societal norms and values between their home and host countries (e.g., Albalawi, 2015; Garza 2015).

Building from these findings, and informed by exploratory study results of focus group interviews, the present study aimed to measure the extent to which Saudi international students are socializing in English, and to determine the factors that most influence their outcomes. The study uses a survey administered to 247 Saudi students studying in universities across the U.S. Findings reveal much successful perceived acculturation among Saudi international students and that difficulties correlated significantly with issues of a cultural nature more than they do with any other issues.