Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

Orkideh Mohajeri, Ph.D

Committee Member

Beatrice Adera, Ph.D

Committee Member

Chiwoneso Beverley Tinago, Ph.D


This qualitative study explored Sub-Saharan African international students’ experiences of racism within colleges and universities in the United States. Extant research on international students’ experiences tend to be homogenous, thus assuming that all international students from different countries have similar experiences. This study specifically highlighted the experiences of Sub-Saharan African international students around the issue of racial discrimination. Concepts discussed include Sub-Saharan students’ experiences of racism within colleges, perceptions of racial identity, and overall understanding of racism. To explain these concepts, the theories of neo-racism and intersectionality were employed. The study utilized interviews for data collection. In total, the research captured responses from 12 Sub-Saharan African international students. Findings indicated that first, these students experience racial discrimination through microaggressions and through direct confrontation. Secondly, international students from Sub-Saharan Africa struggle with the racial classification ‘Black’, and lastly, that despite experiences of racial bias, some students did not describe racism as a major concern for them. Findings from this study can be useful in informing and advocating for the wellbeing of international students from the Sub-Saharan region in Africa.