Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Dr. Sora Friedman


International students and second language speakers in the United States encounter a wide range of sentiments about themselves, about others, and about the world, deriving from their interactions and experiences while speaking English. This qualitative research study explores those feelings and experiences with the following questions: How do international students, who started at a community college in the United States, experience identity development and self-perception in regard to speaking a foreign language? Furthermore, have international students experienced any reflective tools or spaces that they feel helped them or influenced their identity development? Multiple, in-depth interviews were conducted with 10 current, or recent, international students at a community college in the United States. The data from the interviews fell into four themes: terms and identification, identity and personality, culture, and finally, reflection and goals. Within these themes, participant perspectives revealed how personal, unique, and varied the second language experience is for international students and how this influences identity and self-perception. This research contributes more voices and perspectives to the growing field of identity and language research. The data presented in this capstone can deepen the understanding of the international student experience for those working in the educational field. It is essential that international educational practitioners be cognizant of these perspectives to avoid generalizations and to better understand the experience of each individual international student. Furthermore, this research demonstrates how institutions must provide the tools and support for international students to explore their feelings and reflect on their experiences living in another country and speaking another language.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | First and Second Language Acquisition | Higher Education