Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2018

First Advisor

Dr. David Boromisza-Habashi

Second Advisor

Dr. Andrea Feldman

Third Advisor

Dr. Cindy White

Abstract

A prevalent issue on U.S. college campuses is the complex relationships between international and domestic student roommates. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how domestic dorm residents and resident advisors narrate disputes they have with their international roommates or residents. The communication practice of narration served as evidence of sense-making for domestic students. Data was collected through in-person interviews and from online discussion boards. In the narratives, domestic students discussed their discomfort and the impossibility to live with difference in lifestyle. For resident advisors, conflict came from language barriers or a lack of communication between international and domestic roommates. This study claims that accountability assignment is complex, disputes are not always presented in narratives as clashes of cultures, and while domestic students find communication to be an antidote for conflict, they don’t often act on that belief. The implications for this study are for international student services and those who create RA training to take my claims into account when creating orientations for domestic first-year students. Representation of international students to the domestic population should be taken into account as well in order to create a more inclusive and diverse space.

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