Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Greer-Medley, Tawanda


This study was designed to describe the experiences of acculturation, acculturative stress, and coping behaviors among Black international students. While research exists on the acculturative and coping experiences of international students in the United States, very few studies have been designed to explicitly examine the experiences of Black international students of sub-Saharan and Caribbean origins. A majority of the existing literature has focused on experiences of Asian and Latin American international students (Malcolm & Mendoza, 2014). This study was intended to provide information about the acculturative experiences of Black international students enrolled at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Interviews were conducted with four focus groups, each comprising three participants. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological approach, and themes were generated from the interviews. The themes that emerged shed light on experiences related to acculturative stress, anti-Black and anti-immigrant discrimination, and adjusting to a new academic environment. Themes also highlighted several ways that Black international students coped with these experiences (e.g., talking to other international students, keeping in contact with family in their home country, and relying on a faith community). Results from this study will inform future research on how Black international students learn race within the U.S context, how geographical location influences the acculturative experiences of Black international students, and the interactions between Black immigrant communities and African American communities. Results of this study could also be used to develop diversity trainings for university staff and community members, and to develop social programs specifically for Black international




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