Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rare but there: An intersectional exploration of the experiences and outcomes of Black women who studied abroad through community college programs
by Willis, Tasha Yvette, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2012, 266; 3533746
Abstract (Summary)

As institutions of higher education strive to prepare global ready graduates, study abroad is on the rise at both 2- and 4-year campuses. Study abroad is also identified as a high impact program that can lead to increased engagement and student success. However, research has centered on the experiences of White, 4-year students. Literature is rare on the experiences of community college students and students of color. This study explores an underrepresented and understudied student population: Black female community college students who study abroad. Using an intersectional lens, this study provides critical insight into participant experiences and outcomes. Research questions inquired about ethnic and racial identity development outcomes, but also broadened the scope of research by including intercultural growth, global identity, and other identity development outcomes.

This qualitative inquiry utilized 19 open-ended interviews to explore the experiences of African American female students who studied abroad on community college programs in Africa and Europe from 2005-2011. At the time of their study abroad in Africa, the Mediterranean, or the British Isles, participants' ages ranged from 19-62. Five themes offer insight into the realities of being Black women studying in different regions of the world: PreDeparture Factors, Study Abroad Context, Peer Roles, Managing Racism, and Outcomes. Though their outcomes were similar to those previously documented for 4-year White students, participants also faced racial and gender microaggressions from their host cultures and/or their U.S. travel peers in each of the three regions.

This study centers the experiences of a marginalized group while widening the scope and sharpening the focus of research. Findings shed light on the complex interplay of race, ethnicity, and gender, and other areas of social diversity for Black women abroad, underscoring that campus climate extends beyond U.S. campus boarders. Implications and recommendations for practice include ways to facilitate inclusive climates in study abroad, support students in facing microaggressions, and build on peer bonds to increase campus engagement and academic success. Recommendations to increase access and equity in study abroad by reducing transfer and financial aid barriers are also discussed, as are areas for future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ortiz, Anna M.
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 74/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, African American Studies, Black studies, Educational leadership, Multicultural Education
Keywords: Black women, Critical race theory, International education, Intersectionality, Study abroad, Underrepresented students, Women students
Publication Number: 3533746
ISBN: 978-1-267-79080-4
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