Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer A. Machiorlatti

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Wong

Third Advisor

Dr. Joseph Kayany


Identity, international students, cross-cultural communication

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study of Intercultural communication and identity uses Cultural Contracts theory and Narrative theory to explore how international students communicate about their understanding of self (identity) and how this understanding is influenced and changes during their studies in the United States. Research participants who have, or are currently studying in the U.S., from Eastern and Central European countries were interviewed about their communication experiences while in the U.S., resulting in different expressions of identity - in-between identity, feeling Americanized, global citizen, and crystallization of native identity - which developed as the result of their U.S. university studies. Their narratives also enabled important themes to surface, as well as distinguishing different factors that contribute to the ways international students understand their identities. Results indicate that international education plays an important role in both personal growth and international students' new sense of identity. Additional findings suggest that the concept of global citizen requires further inquiry, possibly developing new definitions of identity hybridity.