Black Students in China- Identity, Environment and Institutions in the Individual's Perception of Racial Encounters
Hamilton, Nia C.
- In recent years, American study abroad and scholarship programs have profoundly targeted the Black demographic, a group largely underrepresented amongst the study abroad community. Researchers have contributed a wealth of understanding about the personal and professional benefits of study abroad, and how to make these benefits more accessible to Black students. However, a general lack of understan... read moreding the perceptions of racial encounters amongst the Black study abroad population, and the specific variables that shape these perceptions, pose a problem both for administrators and recruitment efforts for study abroad. This study, focused on American Black students who have studied in China, identifies three lenses, identity, institution, and environment, that allow us to better describe the student’s process of interpreting racial encounters while abroad. Results found that of these three factors, identity and environment were equally significant to the student’s understanding of racial encounters in China, while institution held little to no significance. Students’ lack of confidence in and connection to their study abroad institutions cause them to place larger weight on their identity and the study abroad environment, while the institution remains a passive entity. This information raises a host of questions about the role of the study abroad institution in the minority student’s unique experiences abroad, and to what extent they can adapt to better serve an increasingly diverse study abroad population. Further research is suggested to measure the effectiveness of study abroad programs in creating an optimal environment for diverse cohorts of students.read less