Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Lynee Connelly


The Role of the International Educator in Understanding International Student Identity Development will explore international educators’ perceptions of their role in assisting international students through identity development. The purpose of this study is to examine international educators’ personal understanding of their role, how they use programs to actualize their role, the ways they believe themselves to be equipped to help international students, and how they reflect upon their perceived role. This project also explores understanding of cultural identity development from the international student perspective and asks international students how they understand the role of international educators in that experience. Using grounded theory, participants were allowed to explore their own ideas; the research unfolded and adapted in a way that let participants share their story. Seven private interviews were conducted in total, five with international educators and two with international students. One focus group was conducted with four international students. According to the findings, the role of the international educator in understanding international student identity development involves using conscious programming, creating the physical environment, becoming cultural interpreters and developing student leaders. The conclusions from this study will help current international educators understand the role they play in the lives of international students and will allow international educators to continue to improve the services that they offer to international students. This unique research will hopefully prompt future inquiry into how international educators affect and understand international student identity development.

Keywords: international student, identity development, self-authorship, international educators


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | International and Comparative Education