Cultural adaptation in international students: proposing the Goal-opportunity Model of Acculturation (GOMA), and developing and exploring the Cultural Fit Questionnaire (CFQ)




Timish, Florin T.

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A goal-opportunity model of acculturation, according to which sojourner’s goals align with the opportunities of the host culture (goal-opportunity cultural fit), can evaluate adaptation to a new sociocultural environment as functional, predictable, and meaningful. Although this new model of person-culture alignment builds on a previous construct of cultural fit (Ward & Chang, 1997), it aims to redefine the construct. Determining the right components of the person-culture alignment as the core of adaptation is nonetheless challenging, as there are different constructs that can be considered. Previous adaptation models have promoted person-culture alignment either as the mitigation of the sociocultural gap (cultural gap) between the native and host cultures (Church, 1982), or as the match (cultural fit) between specific personality traits (e.g., openness) and host culture norms (Ward & Chang, 1997). However, those models disregard valuable cognitive factors, such as autonomy, problem-solving ability, decision-making skills, achievement need, goal setting, motivation, participation, and effort. This thesis introduces goal-opportunity cultural fit as a contextual measurement of cultural adaptation in international students, as a group of sojourners with high achievement needs. Using exploratory analysis to refine a newly developed measurement instrument˗˗the Cultural Fit Questionnaire˗˗the current study attempts to show that this new person-culture alignment can be measured, predicted, and interpreted. It is expected that this proposed model of acculturation based on reinterpreting cultural fit as a goal-opportunity alignment will offer a better understanding of cultural adaptation in goal-driven sojourners with a need for achievement and autonomy, such as it is the case with international students.



goal-opportunity model of acculturation, goal-opportunity alignment, goal-opportunity cultural fit, cultural fit, person-culture fit, cultural fit questionnaire