Wait! We Are Not Part of the Minorities?: International Students on American College Campuses
With nearly a million international students enrolled in U.S. universities and colleges during the 2014-2015 academic year (Open Doors Data, 2015), American campuses are becoming more diverse than ever. Studies have shown that universities and colleges are helping international students ease into American culture (Cemalcilar, 2008; Zhou, Jindal-Snape, Topping & Todman, 2008). However, international students are still facing isolation, exclusion and even discrimination (Lee & Rice, 2007). The current research investigates international university students’ American experiences in terms of their sense of belonging in American culture. The study uses a phenomenology qualitative approach in which 12 international university students at a large Midwestern university were interviewed and their experiences are analyzed through system justification theory (SJT; Jost & Banaji, 1994; Jost, Banaji, & Nosek, 2004; Jost, Glaser, Kruglanski, & Sulloway, 2003). The results of the study help promoting mutual understanding among students within and beyond academia, and also decolonizing knowledge about nations and borders. Diversity and multiple ways of knowing are invaluable (Wood, 1989); thus, inclusion of international students’ perspectives will help us create a collective and transformative consciousness in today’s multicultural and globalizing American society.