Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Social Work

First Advisor

NaYoun Lee

Second Advisor

Teresa Lefmann

Third Advisor

John Green

Relational Format



This study explores the lived experiences of international students at the University of Mississippi (UM). Using a phenomenological approach, the participants’ stories were understood and offered as a counter-narrative to existing literature dominated by White Americans. The interviews were processed through the lens of Critical Race Theory, specifically the microaggressions framework to account for modern-day racism as it evolves alongside culture. Twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted with international students at UM ranging from exchange to PhD candidates. These participants are from various countries around the globe, chosen through convenience sampling. The interviews were coded using NVivo12. The results of this study produced four themes: 1) English language as a barrier and basis of predominantly negative experiences; 2) the value of cultural differences to international students; 3) a sense of belonging on the UM Campus that may seem paradoxical but not contradictory; 4) racialization as a new experience. The purpose of this study is to both fill a gap in existing literature as well as prompt a discussion regarding international students’ experiences, roles, and representation on the UM campus.

Available for download on Monday, May 08, 2023