This article reports on a qualitative study that investigates the experiences of Syrian university students in Izmir, Turkey using in-depth semi-structured interviews with 15 informants. The research is geared towards exploring the social, academic, and linguistic issues emerging in the acculturation period; factors moderating the integration process as well as students’ coping strategies. The results are discussed within the framework of Berry’s acculturation model, theory on boundary formation and intergroup relations. On the basis of the informants’ self-reports, we found that intergroup relations with mainstream Turks, language and academic issues, lack of institutional support, emerge as major themes affecting acculturation. An important finding of this study is that religiosity was a major boundary marker although the two groups share the same religion. The implications of the study are beneficial to the policy makers in anticipating the acculturation-related concerns, creating preventative measures and implementing long-term solutions.

DOI: 10.1093/rsq/hdz014
ISSN: 1020-4067