Call for Papers: Special Issue on Lived Experiences in an Era of Unprecedented Uncertainty and Challenges: New Voices from Intersectional Identities


“International Students’ Lived Experiences in an Era of Unprecedented Uncertainty and Challenges: New Voices from Intersectional Identities”

Guest Editors:

Charles Mathies, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Katie Koo, University of Georgia, USA

Background of Special Issue

International students carry multiple identities simultaneously. These identities are dynamic and constantly shifting from how they identify in the host culture, in the classroom and on campus as well within their own home and families and in their home country and culture. This special issue will explore the intersectionality of the identities of international students as they deal with occurrences of discrimination and marginalization.

International students often receive mixed messages from “you are welcomed” to “you are not welcomed” or “you are only valued for the money you bring”. These mixed messages, incidents and micro-aggressions have caused significant trauma to many international students leaving them confused, angered, and hurt. From COVID-19 and travel bans to increased nationalism, nativism, and racism, international students face complex, multi-layered dynamics, not only in their academic work, but also in their personal, social, and professional lives.

Manuscripts within the scope of this special issue may include, but not limited to topics and experiences such as:

  • COVID-19/isolation
  • Increasing racism/nationalism
  • Nativism/linguism
  • Impact of Trump Government
  • Brexit
  • Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement
  • Anti-Asian incidents/hate crimes
  • Travel bans
  • Frequent changes of immigrations laws
  • Increase of refugees, displaced, and stateless people

This special issue aims to provide space and a platform for international students’ critical voices and perspectives, allowing international students to unfold their stories of their lived experiences in their own words. We have a particular interest in personal narratives that divert from dominant research traditions and knowledge and bring diversity of times, experiences, and positionality on the subject.


This special issue is particularly interested in personal lived experiences. While we welcome all methodologies, we will give preference to methods telling personal narratives of international students such as autoethnography. Autoethnographic studies are particularly desirable for this special issue because the authors serve as the primary participants/subjects of the research to unfold genuine and vivid life stories. This differs from other ethnographic studies as it welcomes the researcher’s subjectivity rather than attempt to limit it as it embraces the personal stories, thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the subject/author in the specific context of their surrounding environment. Submissions should draw on intersectional perspectives to explore and expand understanding of how international students make sense of experiences of discrimination, marginalization, and other complex experiences.

Voices and Perspectives

We welcome manuscripts from current and former graduate students, postdoctoral students, and postgraduates from all parts of the world. For those who studied abroad as international students in a foreign country in the past and are currently working as professionals, you are also welcome to contribute to submit your proposal on your retrospective experiences as former international students. We are particularly interested in voices and perspectives from those who identify with a low- or lower-middle income country, an emerging or underrepresented country, context, identity, or location, whether by birth, cultural heritage, race, religion, background, or current residence.

Author Guidelines

This special issue considers original research articles (4,000-7,000 words including tables/figures and references). We expect selected authors to participate in rigorous peer review of two (2) submitted articles for the special issue. Peer review will consist of two peer authors (from special issue) and at least one outside reviewer who is an expert in this specific topic and/or method. Individual manuscripts submitted for publication consideration are to be in English (United States spelling) with APA 7th edition style. Selection for full manuscript submission does not constitute guarantee of publication. Only manuscripts published are those who go through peer review and revision stages and receive final acceptance for publication by guest editors.

Important Dates

  • Abstract submission due August 15, 2021
  • Decision on abstracts September 1, 2021
  • Full manuscript due November 1, 2021
  • Peer Review of other articles due December 15, 2021
  • Peer review returned to authors December 31, 2021
  • Revision draft due January 31, 2022
  • Revision drafts returned (if needed) February 28, 2022
  • Final drafts due  March 31, 2022                 

How To Submit

Submission of an article abstract (300-500 words) and a brief bio (50-200 words). In your abstract, please include the following information:

  • Problem statement (please address specific contexts and issues that your topic is based: for example, Asian international students’ experiences on racism and racial discrimination in the U.S. institutions)
  • Purpose of the study and/or research questions
  • Methodology (if other than autoethnographic, please also include instrument, participants, data collection method, analytic techniques as applicable)
  • Principle findings
  • Significance to international higher education

Submit your abstrract and bio via this form:

Questions can be directed to Dr. Charles Mathies ( and Dr. Katie Koo (

About the Journal of International Students

The Journal of International Students (JIS) is a quarterly publication on international education. JIS is an academic, interdisciplinary, and peer-reviewed publication (Print ISSN 2162-3104 & Online ISSN 2166-3750) indexed in major academic databases including Web of Science Core Collection ESCI. The journal publishes scholarly peer-reviewed articles on international students in tertiary education, secondary education, and other educational settings that make significant contributions to research, policy, and practice in the internationalization of education worldwide. You may check sample articles here