Understanding the Transition Experience of Students Transferring from a Latin American International Branch Campus to Its Us Main Campus
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Students are in constant transition as they move from one academic institution to another, from one academic level to another, from one major to another, or from college to the world of the work (Killam & Degges-White, 2017). While all of those stages of transition have been the focus of numerous studies, the increasing diversity of student mobility requires additional attention to cover non-traditional or international transitions. With a growing attention on the internationalization of education and cross-border education, International Branch Campuses (IBCs) have expanded in number and significance. The transition of students that transfer from a Latin American IBC to its US main campus offers the opportunity to draw attention to a unique group of students. This study used a sequential mixed methods research design in order to explore the transition experience of the students that transfer from a Latin American IBC to its US main campus upon completing their sophomore year. Most feedback about their experience so far has been anecdotal, and there has not been an empirical study to reveal how these students—mostly international--experience the transition and how they handle the changes. Schlossberg’s (1981) Transition Theory provides a relevant theoretical framework to delineate the transition from the international branch campus to the main campus, and to capture the developmental stages that the transfer students experience. The results of this study can have practical implications for the administrators in both locations. Understanding this transition experience from the vantage point of the students can pave the way for informed changes, additional support mechanisms, and tailored resources.