If you have any problems related to the accessibility of any content (or if you want to request that a specific publication be accessible), please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Experiences of Refugees in Higher Education: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis Study
AuthorOsmanovic , Sibela
AdvisorFreeman , Brenda J
Counseling and Educational Psychology
AltmetricsView Usage Statistics
This dissertation examined the experiences of participants who identified as refugees and had either obtained a graduate degree (master’s or higher) or were in the process of obtaining a graduate degree during the time of this study, despite the influence of trauma on their experiences. This qualitative research study utilized Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, and field interviews to answer the following research question: What are the lived experiences of refugees in their pursuit of graduate education? Eight participants in total shared their experiences. Nine total themes were identified for all of the participants. The following are the nine themes and three subordinate themes that emerged from the data: Independence; Connections; Resilience; Identity and Cultural Factors; Othering; The Experience of Being a Refugee Student; Barriers; Responsibility to the Family; and Contributions. Three of these themes included subordinate themes. Connections included four subthemes: Family; Community; Mentorship; and Social Support. Barriers included three subthemes: Mental health; language difficulties; and finances. Contributions included two subthemes: Recommendations for Refugees Who Want to Pursue Graduate Education; and Strategies for Increasing Retention. The findings of this study highlight the importance of the counseling field, and graduate programs recognizing and utilizing the strengths of refugees, as well as implementing strategies for retention of refugee students, and improving the services that they offer to refugee students. Implications for counselors and graduate programs are also provided.