A Phenomenological Study of Female International Students in Graduate Programs in the College of Education at a Public HBCU in the United States
Female international students negotiate multiple identities as non-native learners and women in a society with different cultural, social, and gender expectations than their home countries. However, a review of literature on international students reveals a lack of comprehensive discussion on gender and the international graduate school experiences. The purpose of this study is to explore the lived experiences of female international students pursuing a graduate degree in the college of education. This study aims to provide an understanding of how gender and immigration status can be significant factors in understanding the international students’ experiences. This study seeks to add to the literature by examining how female international students describe and make meaning of lived educational experiences during graduate degree completion in the context of the intersection of being international and a woman. A purposive sample of seven female international students from the three departments in the college of education (i.e., educational leadership, teaching and learning, and psychology) was studied using a qualitative design. This study employed a phenomenological approach to investigate the lived experiences of female international students pursuing graduate degrees in the college of education. In-depth semi-structured interviews with the seven participants and reflective journals were used to generate rich, detailed descriptions of the phenomenon. Data were analyzed using Moustaka’s (1994) phenomenological phases: (a) bracketing, (b) horizonalization, (c) clustering into themes, (d) textual description, (e) structural description, and (f) essence of the experience. Data analysis from the interviews illuminated five major themes across participants: (a) Coming to America, (b) Influence of cultural background, (c) Gender matters, (d) Support system, and (e) Being an international student. This study utilized a theoretical perspective based upon two theories: (a) feminist standpoint theory as a framework to gather the students’ narratives about graduate studies, and (b) intersectionality theory as a framework to view the intersection of being international and a woman in the United States.
Educational leadership|Gender studies|Higher education
"A Phenomenological Study of Female International Students in Graduate Programs in the College of Education at a Public HBCU in the United States"
ETD Collection for Tennessee State University.