Different Worlds, Mutual Expectations: African Graduate Student Mothers and the Burden of U.S. Higher Education

Jane-Frances Y. Lobnibe
2013 Journal of Education and Learning  
In the United States, colleges use the internationalization of their student body as a conduit to achieving greater diversity. Not only has the attraction of international students become a priority for many universities regardless of size or location, universities administrators are often also quick to point to the increasing number of international students as evidence of their commitment to diversity efforts. This paper explores African student mothers' experiences with the US higher
more » ... n system by examining both the structural environments and the socio-cultural burdens and constructs that affect and shape their learning and adjustment challenges in predominantly white US universities. It argues that while individual behaviors and attitudes may present serious challenges to the adjustments and full integration in US colleges, it is largely the structural and institutional arrangements and policies (both written and unwritten) that often prove difficult to navigate. Drawing on the experiences of twenty-three women from a predominantly white Midwestern university, it demonstrates that policies and arrangements that place the distribution of material, social and academic resources on students' ability to network in unequal social environments often place extra burden on the African graduate student mother studying in US higher institution; how these students in turn respond, interpret and negotiate their experiences will be highlighted.
doi:10.5539/jel.v2n2p201 fatcat:y723uhdfwjbh7mryaximerw73u