new social media; intercultural adaptation
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New social media have become increasingly popular components of our everyday lives in today’s globalizing society. They provide a context where people across the world can communicate, exchange messages, share knowledge, and interact with each other regardless of the distance that separates them. Intercultural adaptation involves the process of promoting understanding through interaction to increase the level of fitness so that the demands of a new cultural environment can be met. Social media and intercultural adaptation are two concepts that have become prominent in our current society.
Research shows that people tend to use new social media to become more integrated into the host culture during their adaptation and to maintain connections to their home countries. This research project attempts to investigate the impact of using new social media on the intercultural adaptation process. In-depth interviews of international students at the University of Rhode Island were conducted, and their social media usage as it impacts their intercultural adaptation was analyzed. The students’ social media use helped them to be more prepared in adjusting to American culture, build and maintain relationships, and overcome adjustment challenges. Based on the results of the analysis, directions for future research in this line of study are also discussed.