Surviving Impostor Syndrome

Navigating Through the Mental Roller coaster of a Doctoral Sojourn




impostor syndrome, mental health, reflection, community support, self-appreciation


Studying overseas may offer myriad riches of extraordinary experiences, especially due to the opportunities to immerse into a different academic culture. However, for some, the difference may be a hurdle that brings them into a mental roller coaster along with their academic career. In this reflective paper, against the backdrop of my overseas studies experiences, I recount my bumpy journey of battling the so-called impostor syndrome which prevented me from being productive until I found the lights at the end of the tunnel and finally found a way to move on with my journey and earned my degree. Self-appreciation and community support seemed to be the most important influences that may have led me to be free from the syndrome and to finally achieve my main objectives.


Black, J. S., & Mendenhall, M. (1991). The U-curve adjustment hypothesis revisited: A review and theoretical framework. Journal of international business studies, 22(2), 225-247.
Bravata, D. M., Watts, S. A., Keefer, A. L., Madhusudhan, D. K., Taylor, K. T., Clark, D. M., Nelson, R.S.., Kevin O. Cokley, K. O. & Hagg, H. K. (2019). Prevalence, predictors, and treatment of impostor syndrome: A systematic review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 1-24.
Forsdale, L. (1981). The selective process. Perspectives on communication, Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 109-133.
Herrmann, R. (2016). Impostor syndrome is definitely a thing. The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Mann, M. M., Hosman, C. M., Schaalma, H. P., & De Vries, N. K. (2004). Self-esteem in a broad-spectrum approach for mental health promotion. Health education research, 19(4), 357-372.
Palmer, Y. (2019). The not-so-easy road of overseas study: life like an outsider. Journal of International Students, 2015 Vol. 5 (4), 5(4), 541-544.
Schartner, A., & Young, T. (2015). Culture Shock or Love at First Sight? Exploring the ‘Honeymoon’ Stage of the International Student Sojourn. In Transcultural Interaction and Linguistic Diversity in Higher Education (pp. 12-33). Palgrave Macmillan, London.



How to Cite

Fitriyah, S. M. (2021). Surviving Impostor Syndrome: Navigating Through the Mental Roller coaster of a Doctoral Sojourn. Journal of International Students, 12(2).



Cross-Border Narratives