A multidimensional analysis of homesickness based on the perceptions of international students in Turkey: A mixed method study

SEZER Ş., KARABACAK N., Narseyitov M.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF INTERCULTURAL RELATIONS, vol.83, pp.187-199, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 83
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2021.06.001
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, ASSIA, Periodicals Index Online, ABI/INFORM, CINAHL, Communication & Mass Media Index, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.187-199
  • Keywords: Homesickness, International students, Mixed method, Metaphor, Cognitive mapping, COPING STRATEGIES, 1ST YEAR, ADJUSTMENT, UNIVERSITY, TRANSITION, DEPRESSION, AMERICAN, COLLEGE
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


In this study, the perspectives of international students about homesickness and their adaptation to Turkish culture were explored. A multidimensional homesickness analysis based on the perception of international students in Turkish universities is presented. For this purpose, a mixed method was used. Two different techniques were used in the qualitative dimension: metaphor analysis and cognitive mapping. Metaphors were created by 60 international students studying at a state university in Turkey. Cognitive mapping data were collected from 22 international students. In addition, a survey model was used to procure quantitative data. Quantitative data were collected by using the Utrecht Homesickness Scale. The sampling group included 200 international students studying in eight different public universities. The inductive content analysis technique was used to analyse qualitative data and the metaphors related to homesickness were conceptualised as deprivation, difficulties, pain, and yearning. The metaphorical expressions revealed both the compelling homesickness of international students and socio-cultural adjustment difficulties in Turkey. The cognitive mapping concerning homesickness was highly similar to the metaphors. Cognitive mapping results aggregated as memories, cultural events, dishes, family members, friends, and hobbies. The quantitative results indicated high mean homesickness scores for 'missing family' and 'missing friends' sub-dimensions. Moreover, the mean scores were relatively low for the 'adjustment difficulties' and 'loneliness' sub-dimensions. Quantitative data revealed that the perceptions of homesickness differ depending on various socio-cultural factors. This study proposes that countries hosting international students should take psychological, social, and cultural adjustment measures, especially for freshmen students who experience more homesickness.