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ERIC Number: EJ1139422
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2161-7252
"When You Come Here, It Is Still Like It Is 'Their' Space": Exploring the Experiences of Students of Middle Eastern Heritages in Post-9/11 U.S. Higher Education
Neider, Xyanthe N.
Journal of International Education and Leadership, v1 n1 Fall 2011
The aftermath of September 11, 2001 complicated how students of Middle Eastern heritages are perceived, treated, and constructed in U.S. institutions of higher education. However, research and scholarship has ignored how students of Middle Eastern heritages experience higher education in the current socio-political United States context. Borrowing from Wolcott's (2001) ethnographic fieldwork methodology, I collected data through observations and interviews with 12 student and 2 staff participants to explore the experiences of students of Middle Eastern heritages enrolled in a research extensive university. Three themes emerged from the data to explain how members of this student group experienced higher education in this particular historical moment. First, students had to re/negotiate their misconceptions about "America" and "Americans" in order to navigate the U.S. higher education spaces, thus, rupturing mythical understandings. Second, these changing understandings influenced how they chose to re/construct their identities for themselves, each other, and dissimilar others, sometimes accepting and other times, resisting identities ascribed to them. Third, spaces were both claimed by students and claimed students in particular circumstances. Although described as if independent from one another, these three themes influenced each other. For example, as students re/negotiated mythical understandings, they revealed different aspects of their identities, in various spaces and for varying purposes. Findings from this study suggest that placing the onus on multicultural/international student groups to educate the dominant campus community is problematic. Through educating others, students develop valuable skills, yet are forced to justify their existence, in this space, at this time. Universities need to take a more proactive stance to collaborate with student groups who have experienced negative identity construction on a global scale. Findings from this study suggest that both domestic and international students need more focused opportunities to engage with one another in order to disrupt their mythical understandings of one another. Thus, I propose the development of a multi-layered program through which students can gain college credit for participation in multicultural and international groups and events leading to a certification in addition to and in conjunction with their academic degree.
Journal of International Education and Leadership. 432 Rittiman Road, San Antonio, Texas 78209. Tel: 210-519-9870; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A