The Role of Volunteerism on Social Integration and Adaptation of African Students at a Mid-Western University in the United States

  • Angellar Manguvo University of Missouri-Columbia, United States
  • Stephen Whitney University of Missouri-Columbia, United States
  • Ottilia Chareka St. Francis Xavier University, Canada
Keywords: social integration, volunteerism, adaptation, international students, multicultural environment, student participation

Abstract

This study examined the role of volunteer experiences on Black African international students’ social integration and adaptation at a predominantly White Mid-Western university in the United States. The study explores micro-level interactions and relationships fostered during volunteering as well as feelings of inclusion/exclusion and personal satisfaction. Thirteen participants who had volunteered in services that required substantial interactions were interviewed. Four themes on the positive influence of volunteering on social integration and adaptation were identified, namely; fostering of feelings of inclusion and belonging, enhancement of social cohesion of diverse people, fostering of feelings of self-validation, and attainment of social, cultural, and human capital. However, other participants in this study felt inadequate, alienated, and devaluated during the volunteer process. Fear of not being understood, feelings of incompetence, and the cumbersome bureaucratic process in the application process deterred some participants from volunteering with some services. 

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Author Biographies

Angellar Manguvo, University of Missouri-Columbia, United States

Angellar Manguvo is a PhD. candidate at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from the University of Zimbabwe. Her research focuses on multiculturalism, inclusive practices with particular focus on diasporic Africans. She was the recipient of the prestigious 2012 International Engagement Award at the University of Missouri.

Stephen Whitney, University of Missouri-Columbia, United States

Stephen Whitney, PhD, is an Associate professor in Educational Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Missouri. He obtained his PhD from the University of Washington. His research interests include the achievement gap, comparative international education, and resiliency.

Ottilia Chareka, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada

At the time of writing, the late Ottilia Chareka was an Associate professor in the School of Education at St. Francis Xavier University, Canada. She obtained her M.Ed. and Ph.D. from the University of New Brunswick.

Published
2013-06-01
How to Cite
Manguvo, A., Whitney, S., & Chareka, O. (2013). The Role of Volunteerism on Social Integration and Adaptation of African Students at a Mid-Western University in the United States. Journal of International Students, 3(2), 117-128. Retrieved from https://www.ojed.org/index.php/jis/article/view/505
Section
Research Articles