“Home Away from Home”? How International Students Handle Difficult and Negative Experiences in American Higher Education

  • Lu (Wendy) Yan Iowa State University, United States
  • Shaohua (Linda) Pei Iowa State University, United States
Keywords: discrimination, cultural struggles, international students

Abstract

International students attending American universities often receive confusing messages: on one hand, for their contribution to the U.S. economy and fostering of domestic students’ multicultural awareness; on the other, they are often targets of hostility and bias on and off campus. This qualitative phenomenological study examined 12 international students’ perceptions of difficult and negative experiences in the context of American culture and a reputedly friendly Midwestern university. Four major themes emerged: (a) their on-campus experiences; (b) the off-campus experiences; (c) their reasons for unpleasant experiences, and (d) their suggestions for professors and peers to be more inclusive. Besides these students’ struggles with administrators, faculty, and domestic students, their off-campus challenges sometimes dimmed their hopes for truly having a “home away from home.”

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Author Biographies

Lu (Wendy) Yan, Iowa State University, United States

LU (WENDY) YAN is a PhD candidate from School of Education, Iowa State University. Her research interests include student development and learning, international students, equality and inclusion. 

Shaohua (Linda) Pei, Iowa State University, United States

SHAOHUA (LINDA) PEI is a PhD candidate in the Higher Education program at Iowa State University. Her research interests include struggles and success of international students, internationalization of higher education, micro-aggression experience of Asian students, second language acquisition, and intercultural communication. 

Published
2018-01-01
How to Cite
Yan, L. (Wendy), & Pei, S. (Linda). (2018). “Home Away from Home”? How International Students Handle Difficult and Negative Experiences in American Higher Education. Journal of International Students, 8(1), 453–472. Retrieved from https://www.ojed.org/index.php/jis/article/view/174
Section
Research Articles