Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 3-27-2018


While previous research has revealed and documented the difficulties that international students and international Muslim students face when studying abroad, it fails to critically study and discuss the students’ perception of reasons behind these difficulties. The main aim of this study is to focus on international Muslim students and explore their social and academic experiences and challenges in a globalized educational context. Another aim is to investigate international Muslim students’ perceived reasons behind the challenges they meet, and how they negotiate such challenges. The study reviews the literature on international Muslim students in western higher education to highlight the gap in the literature on these groups of students and show the need for further research. Guided by the work of both Bayat (2015), and Altwaiji (2014) on Neo-orientalism, this study focuses on international Muslim students’ experiences and challenges with the aim of guiding researchers and policy makers, and administrators on campuses to improve campus learning environments for international Muslim students. Using qualitative case study methodology, seven student participants and two administrators were interviewed regarding students’ experiences and challenges in a southwest university of the United Sates. The data revealed nine themes of social experiences and five academic themes related to students’ experiences. The data of the current study revealed several social and academic themes that were not discussed in previous studies on international Muslim students and their experiences in the United States.


international students, Muslim students, challenges, experiences, western higher education, Neo-orientalism, international education, cosmopolitism

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Holbrook Mahn

Second Committee Member

Donald Zancnella

Third Committee Member

Jan Armstrong

Fourth Committee Member

Ozlem Sensoy