International Counseling Students’ Practicum Experience in a Counseling Program in the United States

A Phenomenological Study


  • Yiying Xiong Johns Hopkins University
  • Matthew Bonner Johns Hopkins University
  • Sterling Travis Johns Hopkins University
  • Feng Xing George Washington University
  • Qingyun Zhang Pennsylvania State University



international counseling students, practicum experience, supervision


Limited attention has been given to international counseling students (ICSs) enrolled in U.S. counseling programs. This phenomenological study examined the lived experiences of six ICSs in a U.S. counseling program regarding factors that impacted their practicum experience. The study identified three themes: learning and growth process, positive impacting factors, and negative impacting factors. It also provided stakeholder recommendations

Author Biographies

Yiying Xiong, Johns Hopkins University

YIYING XIONG is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Education. Her research interests include international students’ mental health, the education of international counseling students, the teaching of group counseling course, and mindfulness practice. She teaches Counseling Theories, Human Development and Counseling, and Group Counseling. Email:

Matthew Bonner , Johns Hopkins University

MATTHEW W. BONNER, Ph.D., LCPC is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Faculty Lead at Johns Hopkins University School of Education in the Counseling Program. Currently, he is a member of various international counseling organizations. He is a licensed counselor and certified supervisor in the state of Maryland. His research interests and published works include black men in the professoriate, assessment in counseling, grading rigor in counselor education, spirituality, and international student perspectives in counseling. Email:

Sterling Travis, Johns Hopkins University

STERLING P. TRAVIS is an assistant professor in the department of counseling and educational studies at Johns Hopkins University. He completed his Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from the College of William and Mary, and his research focuses on individual psychology, evidence based practices, and college student development. Email:

Feng Xing, George Washington University

FENG XING is a doctoral student of the Professional Psychology Program at Columbian College of Arts and Science, George Washington University.  He is currently working as a clinic extern at the Center Clinic and College Living Experience.  His research interests focus on group therapy, international trainees’ experience in counseling/psychology programs, and multiculturalism.  Email:

Qingyun Zhang, Pennsylvania State University

QINGYUN ZhANG is a doctoral student of the Counselor Education and Supervision Program at the Pennsylvania State University. He is currently the Clinic Supervisor at the Edwin L. Herr Clinic and a Licensed Graduate Professional Counselor (LGPC) in Maryland. His research interest includes training and supervision models for international counseling trainees in different cultural or linguistic settings, multicultural counseling, and collective trauma.



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How to Cite

Xiong, Y., Bonner , M., Travis, S., Xing, F., & Zhang, Q. (2021). International Counseling Students’ Practicum Experience in a Counseling Program in the United States: A Phenomenological Study. Journal of International Students, 12(3), 633–653.



Research Articles (English)