Graduation Date

Spring 2018

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Meredith Williams

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Mary Virnoche

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



The effects of culture shock on individuals living abroad are well known. Less well known, however, are the specific experiences, needs, and challenges of Saudi Arabian students studying internationally, especially in Western nations. In this study, I used qualitative research to explore the needs and difficulties of Saudi international students in Humboldt County and at Humboldt State University (HSU). Using semi-structured interviews with eight participants, diversified by gender and marital status, I provide a holistic view of HSU Saudi international students’ experiences and challenges which could help to understand Saudi students’ experiences abroad generally, and in Humboldt County specifically. I highlighted three major themes which emerged from the interviews: language and cultural challenges, discrimination and religious challenges, and gender challenges. The participants discussed similar and different issues compared to prior studies, as well as new points, such as the role the host family played on these students, the difficulties these students encountered when they interacted with members of another gender, and how cultural differences between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. created some social and academic problems. It is important to understand these students’ experiences to ease their challenges and make their experiences in the U.S. more successful.

Citation Style


Included in

Sociology Commons


Thesis/Project Location