Experiential Blackness: Connecting Double Consciousness with Intercultural Competence

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Claire Halverson


This Capstone examines the question: In what ways does being black impact a study abroad leader’s practice when facilitating the process of cultural competency building? The secondary questions addressed are: What cultural competencies are gained through study abroad? What are the expectations and responsibilities given to leaders in regards to facilitating the process of gaining these competencies?

Four leaders for the Experiment in International Living (EIL), a three to five week US based study abroad program, agreed to take part in a series of interviews about their experiences. Azikiwe, age 34, Sharese, age 26, Tene, age 26 and Lyndon, age 24, all self identify as black, African American, or Afro-Caribbean and led trips for EIL during the summer of 2005. This paper uses qualitative interviews.

W.E.B. Du Bois’ concept of double consciousness, in conjunction with Bailey Jackson’s Black Identity Development Model provide a conceptual framework that parallels the process of developing double consciousness with that of developing cultural competencies through a study abroad experience.

This capstone raises several important issues in the field of IE: 1) there is a complete lack of discourse about the experiences of leaders of color, 2) this lack has thus far resulted in a devaluation or underutilization of the potential wealth of knowledge held by these individuals, and finally 3) that there is a need to reassess what training study abroad leaders need in order to better deal with the increasingly diverse backgrounds, perceptions, and realities of their participants.


International and Comparative Education

This document is currently not available here.