Date of Award

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Cultural Foundations of Education


Dalia Rodriguez


Internationalization of Higher Education, International Students, Liberal Arts Colleges

Subject Categories



The current intensifying climate of internationalized higher education has led to feverishly increased recruitment of international students in and beyond the United States. Amidst competition for this student population, the complexity of the international student experience, the voices of internationals, and the focus on individuals' lives are of lesser consequence than mapping global flows and tracking aggregate trends through statistical measures and meta-level reporting. As a result, international students in the twenty-first century are often commodified, homogenized, and Othered in the scholarships to which they are a subject and on the campuses in which they are enrolled. However, I contend - and show in this dissertation - that these students are also powerful commentators on their own lives who share invaluable insights about international study, the situatedness of globally mobile persons navigating transnational social fields, and the ways in which international students are agential actors within the globalized system of higher education.

In this qualitative case study dissertation, I investigate salient dimensions of internationals' lives at Horace College, a Midwestern liberal arts college, by mapping and analyzing the self-reported stories and the perceptions of my informants. Based on nine months of fieldwork, I explore the particular contours of internationalization, international student inclusion, and diversity within the social justice legacy of and liberal arts mission at Horace College. I also give attention to how international students and other participants perceive the moniker "Horacian" and the ways in which this label has implications for expectations regarding international student "adjustment" and relationships between domestic and international peers on campus. Finally, I investigate meanings internationals ascribe to the term "international student" as well as the transnational ties to family, friends, and home countries most salient to these students' experience at and beyond Horace.


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