Honors College
 

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Abstract

The present study was designed to investigate in-state students’ perceptions of two out-groups on the University of Maine campus: out-of-state students and international students and the experiences of international students. Two separate surveys were administered online over two semesters: the first’s goal was to evaluate perceptions host students might have of their peers and if these peers were perceived to be from distinct out-groups, while the second survey was an exploratory survey allowing international students to describe their experiences while studying at UMaine. Two hundred and fifty seven in-state students responded to the first survey. Results from this survey showed in-state students rated individuals from another state or country as members of distinct out-groups with different beliefs and worldviews than both each other and individuals from Maine. Participants also indicated they would experience anxiety, uncertainty, and other negative emotions if interacting with either out-group. Seventeen international students participated in a second, exploratory study. These student responses contained several common themes: a lack of transportation off campus, a desire to see more of the host culture, desire to befriend students from the United States, and positive encounters with host students. The results of the study may be connected: host students (those from Maine) may be hesitant to befriend international and out-of-state students because they perceive them as being different. Overall, the findings of this study suggest that the interactions between these out-groups on the University of Maine campus warrants further study.

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