Openness to World Music Predicts Adaptation to a New Culture among Student Sojourners


  • Yixue Quan School of Psychological Sciences, Macquarie University
  • Kirk N. Olsen Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University
  • Weiyi Ma School of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas
  • William Forde Thompson Faculty of Society and Design, Bond University



open-earedness, student sojourners, psychological adaptation, sociocultural adaptation, acculturation


Student sojourners temporarily live in a foreign country to pursue higher education. Research has shown that student sojourners’ openness to new experience and cultural values predict their adaptation to the host culture. However, it is unclear whether music – a major medium of cultural communication – also plays a role in adaptation to a host culture. This study examined whether student sojourners’ world music open-earedness (a willingness to explore, listen to, tolerate, and learn about music from diverse cultures) and functions of music in intercultural settings (the psychosocial reasons people engage with music) predict psychological and sociocultural adaptation. Seventy-six student sojourners in Australia reported their musical inclinations and adaptation to Australian society. World music open-earedness was significantly correlated with psychological and sociocultural adaptation. However, multiple regression modelling revealed that after statistically controlling for personal characteristics (e.g., age, musical training), personality traits (e.g., openness), and acculturation strategies, psychological adaptation was predicted by the music functions ‘arousal and activation’ and ‘self-reflection’, whereas sociocultural adaptation was predicted by world music open-earedness and the music function ‘arousal and activation’. Mechanisms that account for these associations and implications for identifying at-risk international students are discussed.




How to Cite

Quan, Y., Olsen, K. N., Ma, W., & Thompson, W. F. (2023). Openness to World Music Predicts Adaptation to a New Culture among Student Sojourners. Empirical Musicology Review, 17(2), 93–112.