Project RISE: Research on the International Student Experience

Purpose of Study

The goal of this study is to understand the interplay of personal factors (e.g., home culture collectiveness, perceived language skills) and institutional factors (e.g., domestic student social support, academic stress) on international students’ adjustment, including belonging, psychological well-being, and academic achievement.

This study extends prior research with larger sample of international students on F-1 and J-1 visas at institutions across the U.S. to understand which factors are most critical for their successful adjustment. A large multi-institutional longitudinal study allows us to investigate students’ outcomes by country or region of origin so that we can provide more precise information relevant to your international student population. In the time of pandemic, international students face additional challenges that might jeopardize their psychological health and academic success. This study aims to identify these struggles and their impact on students’ adjustment.

Detail Overview

Who: International students on F-1 visas studying at colleges and universities in the U.S. at participating institutions can join in this study

What: Participants are invited to complete surveys (15 mins each) at the times below:

  • Winter/Spring 2021
  • Fall 2021
  • Spring 2022

Benefits for Institutions

Participating institutions will receive the following in June 2021, December 2021, and June 2022:

  • Invitation to webinars to review and discuss findings
  • Report of study findings (click here to download example)
  • Report of average scores for your students compared to national sample and peer institutions

Benefits for Student Participants

Participating students will have access to the following benefits:

  • Invitation to webinars to discuss findings in Summer 2022
  • Enter into drawing to win $50 gift card at each timepoint
  • Access to publications from this research project

Funding and IRB

This research is made possible through funding from the from the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) Joint-Funded Research Programme.

This research project (#00023524) has been approved by the Wake Forest University Institutional Review Board.


How can our institution support this study?

While we are not currently enrolling new institutions in the current study, We welcome the opportunity to collaborate! The next open wave for recruitment will begin in January 2023, If you are interested in supporting this work, please contact the study team at projectrise@nullwfu.edu or 336.758.7053.


Project RISE Team

Principal Investigator
Nelson Brunsting, PhD

Photo: Nelson Brunsting

Research Associate Professor
International Studies
Wake Forest University

Co-Investigator
Patrick Bingham, PhD

Patrick Bingham photo

Research Coordinator
RAISE Center
Wake Forest University