Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Self Identity and Community Through Social Media: The Experience of Saudi Female International College Students in the United States
by Alruwaili, Tahani Obaid M., Ph.D., University of Northern Colorado, 2017, 173; 10266838
Abstract (Summary)

This study examined the role of social media in the lives of Saudi female international college students as they faced issues related to adjusting to living and studying in a culture vastly different from their own. Social media is an increasingly important consideration in literature on self-identity, education, and community. This study employed qualitative interview methods to explore this topic. Fourteen Saudi female international college students living in the United States for three to nine years answered questions about their personal identities in Saudi Arabia and in the United States, their social media use in Saudi Arabia and in the United States, their experiences with online communities, and their experiences with educational social media. Of the 14 participants, nine were married and five were unmarried, nine were graduate students and five were undergraduate students, and all ranged in age from 18 to 40. Major themes that emerged were identity as a Saudi, female, Muslim, and student; identity changes after arriving in the United States; social media and the expression of identity; the role of communities in the lives of Saudi female international college students; and educational social media and Saudi female international students. Recommendations developed from this study’s findings aimed to help U.S. professors better understand their male and female Saudi students, how Saudi cultural and religious factors impacted these males and females differently, and how to effectively use educational social media in a way that acknowledged Saudi culture but still encouraged participation by all Saudi students. Limitations of this study, recommendations for future research topics, and a conclusion are also provided. The findings of this research further point the need for educators to understand how to implement social media in the classroom in a way that serves students of all cultural backgrounds as the U.S. educational system continues to receive large numbers of Saudi international students each year. Overall, this study found the experiences of Saudi female international college students studying in the United States impacted their identities, their use of social media to connect with their communities, and how they interacted in a culturally diverse classroom through educational social media.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ku, Heng-Yu
Commitee: Black, Linda L., Kyser, Christin, Larkins, Randy
School: University of Northern Colorado
Department: Educational Technology
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle Eastern Studies, Educational technology
Keywords: Community studies, International college students, Saudi female, Self-identity, Social media, Social self-efficacy
Publication Number: 10266838
ISBN: 9781369810455
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