Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

MAE - Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Laura Wood


South Asia and East Asia drive the recent surge in US global student enrollment, exceeding one million, collectively representing 60.141% of international students, with China and India contributing 53% alone. These figures underscore the need for focused research into the experiences of South Asian and East Asian international students in the United States, an area currently lacking comprehensive study. This thesis examines culture shock among South Asian and East Asian students at a university in the Northeast, exploring relevant theories, role of media portrayals, and drama therapy interventions. It investigates the effects of culture shock, such as strain, loss, rejection, and role confusion, and considers factors like language proficiency and social support networks that affect its severity and duration.

A drama therapy workshop focusing on cultural issues was held for six South Asian and East Asian international graduate students hailing from Taiwan, India, and China. This thesis examined the impact of drama therapy on cultural adaptation and psychological distress alleviation, utilizing methods such as the Spectrogram, Role Theory, Six-Piece Story, and Sculpting with the participants. The thesis offers insight into international student experiences through written and artistic observations, and practical implications for universities in supporting diverse student populations.




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