Shuang Li

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences


Sport and Exercise Psychology

Committee Chair

Samuel Zizzi

Committee Co-Chair

Grace Atebe

Committee Member

Damien Clement

Committee Member

Monica Leppma

Committee Member

Jack Watson


International students face multiple challenges due to cross-cultural transition. Physical activity plays a significant role in maintaining health and well-being for college students. Little research has explored how international students' physical activity interacts with their acculturation. Using a longitudinal qualitative approach with individual interviews and non-participant observation, the current study explored how physical activity interacted with new international students' first-year transition to studying in the United States. Nine participants who engaged in regular physical activity were enrolled. Each individual was interviewed twice in the middle and at the end of their first year. Three-month of field work was applied to capture international students' physical activity experience. Data were analyzed using an inductive approach. Results suggested that international students' cross-adjustment occurred academically, socially, and culturally in support of previous research. Physical activity played a role in those areas. Practical implications, limitations, and future research recommendations were discussed.