Publication Date


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

William Hoffa


This research study seeks to explore the effects of the undergraduate study abroad experience on ethnic identity development among African American women. The research question is: what, if any, is the impact of an undergraduate study abroad experience on ethnic identity development of African American women. The two sub-questions are: 1) What, if any, are the differences between women who studied abroad in diasporic locations versus women who studied abroad in non-diasporic locations , and 2) Upon their return, has their study abroad experience encouraged further exploration of their identities as African American women?

All of the participants in this research studied abroad for a period of at least four weeks and completed their study abroad experience by December 31, 2005. Data was collected via a thirty-one question electronic survey that was distributed to four target groups. Responses were analyzed using the Cross Theory of Psychological Nigrescence along with Parham’s Theory of Recycling.

Although there were participants who displayed no impact on their ethnic identity as a result of their study abroad experience, results of this research indicate that participants who studied in diasporic locations and participants who studied in non-diasporic locations had experiences that positively contributed to ethnic identity development. This study would be beneficial for scholars interested in learning more about experiences that enhance ethnic identity development among African American women, or study abroad professional seeking more information on the lived experiences of African American women overseas.


International and Comparative Education | Race and Ethnicity