Welcome to America! How can athletic departments better assist international student-athletes with their transition into the American university setting?
Keywords:College sport, International student-athletes, Cultural competency
The current study examined how athletic stakeholders (e.g., coaches and support staff) at a NCAA Division I mid-major university attempt to assist international student-athletes (ISAs) with their transition into the American university setting. Semi-structured interviews with 10 athletic administrators and coaches discussed common transition issues ISAs typically encounter (e.g., cultural changes, dietary/nutritional adjustments, financial misunderstandings, homesickness, etc.), as well as resources (e.g., consistent on-boarding checklists) and a training (e.g., cultural competency training) that should be provided to practitioners that assist/coach ISAs. Additionally, programmatic offerings that might provide support systems and improve the student-athlete experience for ISAs were discussed. Our findings highlight the considerations that athletic administrators and coaches should know when attempting to support ISAs during the beginning stages of their transition to America. Due to the growing number of ISAs competing in college sport, understanding how best to support this population is crucial for athletic departments that are hoping to attract and retain ISAs.