Yushuang Wu


As the number of Chinese international students studying in American universities has increased dramatically in recent years, more attention has been paid to the challenges these students face both academically and socially. To address problems Chinese international students face in their acculturation to U.S. culture generally, and Pepperdine University specifically, this strategic communication non-thesis project involved the development of an interactive website specifically designed for Chinese international students at Pepperdine University. Its aim is to help them better understand the American culture and find solutions when they encounter cultural difficulties and challenges in their academic and social life. The website not only elaborated on American culture such as slang and plagiarism rules, but also introduced campus resources and how to use them. In addition, the website included a Connect section facilitating opportunities for students to interact with other students. The development of the website involved both primary and secondary research to gain insights on Chinese international students' college experience and how to help them make the transition to and their experience at Pepperdine University more smooth. Specifically, face-to-face interviews were conducted with different professors, an employee of Office of International Student Services, and the Chinese Student Association student chair. A focus group with Chinese international students was also conducted in order to explore their campus experience both academically and socially. A beta-test survey of Chinese international students revealed that the website was helpful in the transition process to American culture and adapting to campus. There were also indicators of attitude and behavior changes in terms of using campus resources, approaching professors, and views on plagiarism. Further development and improvements to the website, such as creating a Chinese counterpart website and adding more content on nearby restaurant guide and visa applications, will be completed by Pepperdine CSA members during summer 2017; the website could be relaunched as early as August 2017.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Communication; Chinese students -- California -- Malibu -- Social networks; Pepperdine University -- Foreign students -- Case studies; Students, Foreign -- Counseling of

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School Affiliation

Seaver College



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Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Ballard, Bert