Date of Award

Summer July 2013

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Elizabeth A. Stoddard

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Reilly

Third Advisor

Anthony Sabatino


The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the perceived experience of Chinese students during their first year attending a Catholic co-educational boarding and day school in the United States. Data collection included semi-structured interviews of five current students, a faculty and staff questionnaire, and an analysis of the schedule of events for the new boarding student orientation. The data was analyzed using the inductive method for data analysis. The data showed that Chinese students face challenges in four key areas: 1) academic adjustment; 2) social adjustment; 3) emotional support; and 4) developing autonomy. Differences between Chinese culture and American culture provide challenges across the four key areas, leading culture to be best suited as a lens for analyzing the challenges faced by Chinese students transitioning to life at an American boarding school. There should be continuing research to identify the challenges faced by other ethnic and cultural groups in adjusting to life at boarding schools.