Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Jean-Pierre Bongila, Chien-Tzu Candace Chou, Cornelius Gilbert



This phenomenological study investigated international students' experiences with the sense of double consciousness while studying in United States (U.S.) universities. This study provided insights into how this sense of duality impacted international students’ heritage identities. I adopted qualitative research designs to provide me breadth and in-depth understanding of the international students’ experiences. I employed a phenomenological approach to find common meanings among international students with similar experiences regarding the sense of double consciousness. To gather data relevant to this study, I used qualitative surveys and I interviewed 11 international students from different countries and backgrounds. Although most participants were unaware of the concept of double consciousness, they lived this phenomenon, felt its effects, and developed mechanisms to cope with it. To elucidate the findings, I utilized two theoretical lenses: Du Bois’s (1903) double consciousness theory, and Berry’s (1992) acculturation theory. International students should be aware of this phenomenon and seek appropriate help whenever necessary. Educational institutions of higher learning should provide appropriate means to help these international students who struggle with the sense of double consciousness. Future studies could investigate the long-term effects of double consciousness on international students’ identity, family, and society in general.

Keywords: Double consciousness, Du Bois’s notion of double consciousness, International students, Identity, Cultural identity, Cultural differences.


Double consciousness, Du Boi's notion of double consciousness, international students, identity, cultural identity, cultural differences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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