The Experiences of International Doctoral Students During the COVID-19 Lockdown



International students, student experience, coping, Lazarus Theory of Stress, lockdown, pandemic, emotions


This study explored the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on international doctoral students at a US university. It elicited narratives of coping with the lockdown and stress-reducing resources and strategies. The lockdown allowed students to focus on their work, and additional household and child caregiving roles required students to develop innovative coping practices. It also forced students without adequate social networks and community integration to experience more uncertainties. All respondents experienced strong disrupted emotions, e.g., anxiety and sadness. Social closeness was an effective stress antidote. Universities should create programs to expand and nurture students' social networks aligned with their interests and needs. Health policies and programs aimed at preventing and treating stress and burnout among doctoral students should focus on their social environment.


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Author Biographies

Juan Pablo, Boston College, USA and ITESO, Mexico

JUAN PABLO A. SANCHEZ KING is a Ph.D. Candidate from Boston College, USA, and the Social Sciences School from the Western Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Guadalajara, México. His intervention research is focused on reducing stress and preventing burnout, by fostering cultural and organizational transformation grounded on living systems theory. He has designed an experiential learning game platform named Animalia ( This game platform is founded on the biology of desires, the biology of emotions, and neo-stoic philosophy. Email:

Sanjeev Dahal, Boston College

SANJEEV DAHAL is a Ph.D. Candidate in Social Work at Boston College, USA. Dahal has been engaged in social work academia and administration in Nepal for over a decade. Dahal is interested in research and academic engagement with children and youths, including student well-being, and he believes in transformational leadership. Email:


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How to Cite

Sánchez King, J. P. A. ., & Dahal, S. (2022). The Experiences of International Doctoral Students During the COVID-19 Lockdown. Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Education, 11(2), 45–72. Retrieved from