Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Randolph Lee

Second Advisor

Brian Chin


Past research has shown widespread disparities in the way domestic students adjust to this transition versus the way international students adjust to the transition of moving into university; especially at predominantly white institutions (PWI) within The United States of America. In many studies, international students have been found to attain elevated levels of anxiety, and experience more difficulty in finding a sense of belonging. Therefore, the present study sought to examine these concerns more carefully. 49 students from all academic years at Trinity College, a PWI, were administered two surveys in order to objectively gauge their levels of anxiety and subjectively understand their personal beliefs and experiences on and within the social climate at the university. Significant findings suggested that while citizenship didn’t showcase much significance in depicting a student’s anxiety levels, it does play a role in elevating them. Consequently, domestic students obtained a sense of belonging faster than international students enrolled at this PWI, in particular. Additionally, the academic year of the international students played a key role in their ability to find a sense of belonging as well as their levels of anxiety. However, considering that each PWI is different and contains distinct social climates, distinct degrees of diversity, and distinct measures of social support, the results of this study would be very open to change depending on the university being assessed. Future research on this subject could involve the consideration of depression as a variable or be based on the application of new measures set in place with the objective of easing the adjustment process for international students at PWIs.

Keywords: Predominantly White Institution, international students, sense of belonging, anxiety, academic year, social climate


Senior Thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford (CT) for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Psychology.