I wish that I could have friends: The Intercultural Friendship Experience of Omani Students at US Universities

Mohammed Juma Alkharusi (1) , Reynaldo Gacho Segumpan (2)
(1) Department of Economics and Business Administration, University of Technology and Applied Sciences-Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman , Oman
(2) City Graduate School, City University Malaysia, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia , Malaysia

Abstract

The domain of intercultural friendships between international and host national students represents a pivotal aspect of international higher education and intercultural communication. In response to the evident research gap within this realm, we conducted a phenomenological inquiry to explore how eight Omani students establish friendships with US host students and the factors that might either facilitate or impede these intercultural friendships. Through our interviews, we discerned four key themes: Adjustment (involving social integration and seeking part-time jobs), Acceptance (embracing new cultural norms and utilizing social media), English proficiency (being proficient in the language and displaying friendliness), and Similarity (finding common ground in country of origin or shared interests). Our investigation identified participants falling into distinct categories: some anticipated forming friendships with both local and international students, while others realized that lack of commonality, either in their home country or shared interests, limited their interaction and socialization with host students. Additionally, some expressed that nurturing friendships demands significant time and effort. Our research yields insightful conclusions on methods to enhance intercultural friendships, including the promotion of meaningful interactions between host and international students.

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Authors

Mohammed Juma Alkharusi
mohammed.alkharusi@utas.edu.om (Primary Contact)
Reynaldo Gacho Segumpan
Author Biographies

Mohammed Juma Alkharusi, Department of Economics and Business Administration, University of Technology and Applied Sciences-Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman

Dr. Mohammed Alkharusi is the Dean of Postgraduate Studies, University of Technology and Applied Sciences, Sultanate of Oman. He holds a PhD in Management Communication from The University of Waikato, New Zealand. He has participated in a number of national and international conferences, such as in New Zealand, Burundi, and Oman. Dr. Mohammed's research interests involve studying issues of identity, in general, and cultural identity, in particular, and how identity influences, and is influenced by both culture and communication within organisations or when interacting with international counterparts.

Reynaldo Gacho Segumpan, City Graduate School, City University Malaysia, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

Dr. Reynaldo Gacho Segumpan, CMgr FCMI, CSci, FIScT, FHEA, PHRi, is Professor and Dean of the City Graduate School, City University Malaysia, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. His teaching, publication, and research works revolve around social media and communication, business and management, and higher education. 

Alkharusi, M. J., & Segumpan, R. G. (2024). I wish that I could have friends: The Intercultural Friendship Experience of Omani Students at US Universities. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 24(1), 28–42. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v24i1.274

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