The Lived Experiences of International Students in Higher Education During COVID-19
The goal of this paper is to compare the preparations of an administrative unit at a university that were made during the COVID-19 shutdown with the actual experiences of the diverse international students they served. We will begin with a description of the process of going remote, with an emphasis on the challenges the administrative unit faced and the problems it anticipated for the diverse and underrepresented student population it served. Then a collection of international students’ narratives will be presented and analyzed using qualitative samples from questionnaires. These first-hand accounts will show how students made sense and meaning of their cross-cultural journey while navigating the complexities of this global pandemic, as well as how they adapted to remote learning in a short period of time. Studying their experience as they navigated through these challenges will help us gain an understanding of their lives in their context and potentially increase our cross-cultural awareness in advancing diversity and inclusion efforts on our campuses. Specifically, we will contrast what administrators did and the plethora of dilemmas they encountered with what students actually felt and experienced in order to provide educators with tools to support international student retention and success on our campus especially during times of crisis, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. International students have complex needs that complicated their adaptations during the pandemic. The findings will help educators and administrators better understand these needs in order to improve university support for internationals (Bartram, 2008).
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