Far away from home: The loneliness experience of overseas students

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This study investigated the experience of loneliness in college students studying far away from home in a new culture, while undergoing changes in the balance of different relationships in their lives. A sample of 103 overseas students (45 males and 58 females), who came from North America to Israel on a one-year program, completed the UCLA Loneliness Scale, indices of quantity and quality of social relationships, and the Intimacy Scale. Contrary to what was expected, the loneliness scores of the overseas students were not higher than the normative scores of American college students. The predictors of loneliness were satisfaction with friends in Israel (22%), satisfaction with friends back home (11%), eating and spending weekends alone (4%), and opposite-sex intimacy (2%). Interviews with a subsample of students (n = 20) showed that within a few weeks most students enjoyed strong social support from their overseas friends. Limitations of the study and directions for future research on overseas loneliness are discussed and implications for counselors are suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-298
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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