This is a phenomenological qualitative research study that explores the essence of the international student experience while studying at a Master’s or Ph.D. level in the U.S. This study examined two main concepts: work experience and cultural transformation. The work experience component explores the professional development and acculturation process for international graduate students and the cultural transformation element aims to understand the cultural differences, self-identity, and transformative aspect from the participants’ experiences abroad.
Using purposeful sampling and a transcendental research design, twelve international students (five pursuing a Master’s degree and seven pursuing a Ph.D.) were interviewed in a chronologically structured format. The semi-structured interviews focused on the participants’ experiences with acculturating and adjusting to the U.S., their internship journeys and career aspirations, and lastly, a reflection of home and self-identify. Three larger concepts were developed to explain the phenomenon: expectations, costs, and outcomes.
International Students, Internships, Self-identity, Post-graduation, Career Development
Level of Degree
Teacher Education, Educational Leadership & Policy
First Committee Member (Chair)
Dr. Allison M. Borden
Second Committee Member
Dr. Arlie Woodrum
Third Committee Member
Dr. Viola Florez
Fourth Committee Member
Dr. Jenna Crabb
Rosev, Ivet S.. "Study to Work, or Work to Study? An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis of International Students' Internship Experiences in the United States." (2020). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/educ_teelp_etds/333