Date of Conferral





Human Services


Tracey Phillips


The prevalence of microaggressions in higher education institutions in the United States is a major issue for individuals of color and international background. Microaggressions can interfere with international students' smooth transition into their new academic system and social environment. The purpose of this qualitative study with a transcendental phenomenological approach was to explore the lived experiences of Sub-Saharan international graduate students who have experienced microaggressions in a higher education institution in the United States. The racial microaggression theory and the theory of neo-racism served as a guiding conceptual framework for this study. The research question was to examine the lived experiences of Sub-Saharan African international students with microaggressions in U.S.-based higher education institutions. Semistructured interview data were collected from 8 participants who are from Sub-Saharan African countries and have completed their graduate studies in a U.S.-based university within the last 5 years. They were between 25 and 40 years of age and recruited through a combination of purposive and snowball sampling strategies. A qualitative analysis was conducted using Creswell and Poth's method of phenomenological analysis and representation. The findings revealed that the participants experienced marginalization in the forms of exclusion, ignoring, belittlement, and unequal opportunity. They had a sense of resignation and used persistence, focus, hard work, avoidance, and distancing to overcome and survive microaggressions. The results of this study may be used to raise public awareness of the issue of microaggressions that African students face in the United States and support advocacy for policy and practice changes for positive social change.