International students compose a group of the society that intrigues many academic experts. Considered as the future of every country, the students are steadily and continuously prepared for future endeavors in the numerous academic institutions around the world. Many of them, however, are forced to overcome additional obstacles during their educational adventure. The decision to study abroad is followed by different types of difficulties which can considerably hinder the students’ successful graduation. Various factors contribute to the international students’ smooth process of adaptation to the new environment. One of them is the use of technology. Undoubtedly, probably the most rapidly developing branch is part of almost everybody’s everyday life, including international students. Social media platforms have adopted our digital profiles which allow people to communicate in a new, interactive way. Meanwhile, the digitalization has motivated different sources of information to make their content available online. Thus, nowadays, international students are offered opportunities that could affect their adaptation in a new country in different directions. This study aims to investigate how the use of digital media affects the level of adaptation. In line with that, the cultural aspects of individuals are taken into major account that could possibly influence the relation between the two variables. Thus, this thesis asked: “How does digital media usage affect the adaptation of international students and what is the moderating role of the individualism and collectivism characteristics?” The research inquired students that were currently living in a foreign country (N=151) about their usage of social media platforms and digital mass media sources. Three types of digital media were considered – from the home and host country and other international. Credible scales were used to measure the students’ individualism/collectivism and level of adaptation. The main findings indicated that international students’ social media to communicate with host-nationals and with other internationals significantly and positively influence their level of adaptation. Moreover, the research found out that the individualism score can serve as a moderator when considering the relationships between digital mass media usage from the home country and the international students’ level of adaptation, as well as between social media to connect with the home country and international students’ level of adaptation. Overall, the study implies that digital media usage and the individualistic/collectivistic characteristics are solid factors that should not be neglected when analyzing the international students’ adaptation to a new environment. Furthermore, it provides different nuances that could help future analyses on this essential topic.

Additional Metadata
Keywords media, business, Adaptation, Digital Mass Media, Social Media, Individualism rate, International Students
Thesis Advisor J. Hofhuis
Persistent URL
Series Media & Business
Y. Etov. (2019, June 24). Cultural Differences in the Effect of Social and Digital Mass Media Usage on International Students' Adaptation in a New Environment. Media & Business. Retrieved from