Psychological Challenges of Saudi Female International Students in Virginia: A Single Qualitative Case Study

Psychological Challenges of Saudi Female International Students in Virginia: A Single Qualitative Case Study

Author: 
Joyce G. Davis
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
Saudi Arabian female international students enrolled in a public university in Northern Virginia used either problem-focused coping or emotion-focused coping strategies to overcome psychological and social challenges. Sixteen Saudi females participated in this qualitative case study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain the opinions and viewpoints of students. The researcher selected NVivo10© to sort and categorize data from the interviews into themes. Findings of the study indicated that participants are determined to continue their educational pursuit in spite of the challenges. None of the 16 participants withdrew from school and returned to their home country, although one is considering returning. Based on the findings, several recommendations were provided for academic institutions, educational leaders, policy makers, professors, staff, and Saudi students regarding what must be done to enhance the educational experience and environment for this population. Among the numerous recommendations, academic institutions can offer mandatory classes on socio-cultural challenges for first year students. Saudi students should be encouraged to join extra-curricular activities and attend social events for the purpose of improving cultural relationships with American students. For future studies, researchers should (a) Conduct a study on the opinions that Saudi parents have about their daughters studying in the United States post 9/11, (b) Conduct a study on reasons Saudi males are against Saudi females from pursuing higher education in a foreign country, and (c) A study on reasons why some Saudi females decided not to continue their education in the host country is another suggestion for future research.
Dedication: 
Without reservation, I dedicate this extensive project to two of my dearest and closest friends who unfortunately passed within two months of each other and a few months before I completed my doctoral journey. Besides my family, especially my daughter Melanee, Debbie Kenney and Dr. Johnnie Drake were so very special to me. Debbie was very supportive and always encouraged me as I shared with her the struggles and accomplishments I encountered on this journey. She would always remind me that I will complete my lifelong goal of obtaining my doctorate. I cannot thank Johnnie enough for being my dearest friend, advisor, confidante, counselor, researcher, and consultant. He was always willing to share information, assist me when I needed it, and encourage me when I felt overwhelmed. Even during his numerous hospital stays he was concerned about my progress and wanted to know how he could help. God put Debbie and Johnnie in my life for specific reasons. Although I miss them deeply, I know I am a better person because of them. Above all, I want to thank God for my parents, Ernell and Leon Davis who are looking down from heaven, and who instilled in me the importance of never stop pursuing my goal of obtaining my doctorate. To God, be the glory!
Acknowledgements: 
With God, all things are possible. There is no way I could have come to the end of this doctoral journey if it had not been for God’s grace and mercy. I experienced many hardships on this journey, but He kept me focused, and for this, I say thank you Jesus. I want to thank my daughter, Dr. Melanee Davis whose cheer was “go mom” as I completed every step in the process. I especially want to thank my sisters Sandra, Lorraine, Leondra, Faye, and my niece Aviance for believing in me. DJ, I can’t thank you enough for your extraordinary love and support during this journey. Also, I want to thank my dear friend Kim, who provided much support and encouragement. I want to thank Dave for providing technical assistance. Furthermore, I want to thank Maria, Jori, Dr.Nakia Ross, Dr. Charity Russell, and Dr. Ola Jewoola for providing a listening ear, prayers, and constant encouragement. I want to thank the women’s usher ministry at Alfred Street Baptist Church for constantly lifting me up in prayer, especially Deacon Middough, Rose, Gloria, Aretha, and Marsha. I would like to gratefully acknowledge Dean Angela Agboli-Esedebe and Dr. Hammad Elbedour for being my support system. I am truly thankful and deeply grateful for my chair, Dr. Rebecca Sanders, for inspiring me and believing in me over the last five years. Dr. Becky’s time, dedication, advice, and encouragement are greatly appreciated. Dr. Becky, I cannot thank you enough for all that you have done for me to make this journey possible. I also want to thank my dissertation committee members, Dr. Gwendolyn Dooley and Dr. Kathleen Hargiss for their commitment and timely feedback. Thanks to all the participants who unselfishly gave their time in helping to make this research possible.