Predicting adjustment of international students: The role of cultural intelligence and perceived cultural distance

Elok D. Malay*, Sabine Otten, Robert J. Coelen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Despite years of investigation on international students’ adjustment, cultural distance and cultural intelligence, the definitions of and the relationship between these concepts are not yet sufficiently well established. This article further explores the three concepts and their possible interrelations. We propose a hypothesized model that considers subjectively perceived cultural distance (PCD) a variable of specific importance, and wherein we assume that the relationship between PCD and international students’ adjustment is moderated by students’ cultural intelligence (CQ). Our model aims to better explain the dynamics between these variables; it posits that students’ CQ level will affect whether and how PCD may influence international students’ psychological, sociocultural and academic adjustment in the host country. Consequently, the model offers several implications for future research and possible interventions to support international students’ adjustment in higher education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-504
Number of pages20
JournalResearch in Comparative and International Education
Issue number3
Early online date25-Feb-2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept-2023


  • Academic adjustment
  • cultural distance
  • cultural intelligence
  • higher education
  • international students
  • perceived cultural distance
  • psychological adjustment
  • sociocultural adjustment

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