Muslim International Students in the United States

A Phenomenological Inquiry into the Experience of Identities




higher education, identity, international student identity model, Muslim international students, stereotypes, Trump effect


This study explored how Muslim international students experience their religious, ethnic/racial, and gender identities prior to coming to the United States and as students in the midwestern United States using E. Kim’s (2012) International Student Identity model as a guiding framework. Three significant findings emerged from semi-structured interviews with 10 students who attended 4-year institutions in the midwestern United States: (a) religious difficulties of being Muslim and Islam as a flexible religion, (b) difficulties with racial constructs and ethnic stereotypes, and (c) gender difficulties of male/female interactions and perceptions of veiling. Based upon these findings, recommendations for higher education professionals, administrators, and policymakers are provided.

Author Biography

Donna Lynn Anderson, University of Montana, USA

DONNA ANDERSON, PhD, is Senior International Officer and Executive Director of the Global Engagement Office at the University of Montana. Her major research interests lie in the area of higher education internationalization, international student identity development, and diversity, equity and inclusion in international education. Email:


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How to Cite

Anderson, D. L. (2020). Muslim International Students in the United States: A Phenomenological Inquiry into the Experience of Identities. Journal of International Students, 10(2), 320–338.



Research Articles (English)