This study adopted experiential learning theory to examine the role of leisure in socio-cultural adaptation among international students from China. It explored how international students integrated the four steps of experiential learning: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation, into culture learning in the leisure context. Two rounds of semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 15 first-year Chinese international students attending a large Midwestern university. The findings revealed that leisure could be an effective facilitator of socio-cultural adaptation. Experiential learning strategies such as reflective observation and abstract conceptualization (i.e., seeing beyond stereotypes) and active experimentation (i.e., taking initiative and imitating host nationals’ behavior) were used by the students in the leisure contexts to learn about the host culture. International students also encountered confusions and frustrations during the culture learning process.
- Cross-cultural adaptation
- experiential learning theory
- international students
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management