||The purpose of this study was to explore the first-year academic experiences and achievement of Chinese international undergraduate students in American higher education. To do so, I tracked a cohort of Chinese international undergraduates through their first-year at a public research university in the United States. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected through surveys, interviews, and an existing database to gain a better understanding of students' background characteristics, study abroad decision-making processes, application to U.S. universities, and first-year academic experiences including challenges and coping strategies. I also examined students' academic achievement in relation to that of comparison groups and identified the factors that affect their academic achievement. Many students in the study were not adequately prepared to face the rigor of college in the U.S. and encountered significant challenges in navigating their first-year academic experiences, including engaging in active and collaborative learning, interacting with American faculty and peers, and maintaining academic integrity. They faced particular challenges coping with the dramatic increase in personal freedom and taking ownership of their own learning. However, despite these challenges, Chinese international undergraduates in the study made gains in academic achievement on par with their American counterparts. Additionally, this study found that gender, high iv school class rank, English language proficiency, the initiation of the idea to study abroad, and absence from class were significantly associated with participants' cumulative firstyear GPA, while high school class rank and absence from class were significantly correlated with their first- to second-year persistence. As one of the first studies to empirically examine the academic experiences and achievement of Chinese international undergraduates on American campuses, this study extends the literature in meaningful ways to provide valuable insights for policymakers, administrators, faculty, and staff who are involved with this population. The findings of this study also help Chinese international undergraduates address cross-cultural learning barriers and facilitate their efforts to become successful cross-cultural learners.