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An examination of the experiences and coping strategies of African students at predominantly White institutions of higher education in the United States
Among studies of International students at predominantly white institutions of higher education in the United States, very few have focused on African students in particular. Most of those that exist have drawbacks, ranging from difficulties in interpreting the data, to inconsistencies in the experiences of those studied. A majority were carried out by means of questionnaire and none by qualitative method of inquiry. This study examines the experiences and coping strategies employed by African students at predominantly white institutions of higher education in the United States, focusing on institutions in Western Massachusetts. Factors considered include pre-entry orientation, adaptation and assimilation, re-entry, issues of adaptability and adjustment problems. Other areas considered include social and academic issues, relationships, college environment, academic achievements and what strategies are being employed by African students to cope with their new educational environment. This study utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection. An in-depth interviewing methodology using a modified interview guide adapted from J. M. Celona (1982) was used to explore the experiences and the coping strategies of 10 non-randomly chosen African students. A pretested survey questionnaire instrument that drew on J. M. Davies et al. (1961) was administered to African students identified through both formal and informal channels in the target institutions. The findings of this study reveal that African students experience expectation and adjustment difficulties upon arrival in the United States because of inadequate predeparture orientation in their home countries and inadequate help when here. African students, driven to achieve despite hardship often seek out admission to U.S. institutions on their own. The African students' urge to succeed academically is motivated by the sense of "multiple accountability" to self, family, friends and even their larger community. African students encounter discrimination on campus, feel isolated and are not socially connected to native students. African students make minimal use of the resources on campus. Coping strategies employed by these students include studying and working harder to overcome academic problems and/or deficiencies, trial and error, risk taking and seeking help from campus officials, faculty, fellow Africans and other foreign students and even strangers. This study concludes the following: (1) that a more comprehensive orientation to American culture and to campus life in particular should be provided for African students upon their arrival. More specifically: that an orientation program that introduces African students to the physical environment, registration procedures, academic policies, housing, counseling, health services, visa requirements and Immigration and Naturalization Services regulations, financial matters and social and intercultural activities should be provided. (2) that an African be involved in the management and administration of African students affairs so as to assure cultural sensitivity. (3) finally that a sense of community be provided for these African students by the Afticans in the area and African Students Association.
Higher education|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|African Americans|Social psychology
Nebedum-Ezeh, Georgina Chizoba, "An examination of the experiences and coping strategies of African students at predominantly White institutions of higher education in the United States" (1997). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9737567.