A Narrative Inquiry on the Transformative Experiences of Adult Refugee Learners in U.S. Higher Education: Bird in a Cage

Each year, refugees enter the U.S. in search of a safe place to rebuild their lives after surviving life-threatening traumas of violence, persecution, or environmental dangers. As refugees seek to establish a stable life for their families, education is seen as a bridge from instability to self-sufficiency. Utilizing transformative learning theory, the purpose of this narrative inquiry was to seek a better understanding of the experiences of adult refugee learners as they navigate higher education in the Southeastern U.S. The research questions that guided this study were: 1) How do prior life experiences of adult refugee learners influence the transition to higher education in the U.S.? 2) How does the intersection of immigration status and personal identity of adult refugee learners influence the U.S. higher education experience? and 3) What strategies do adult refugee learners employ to navigate the cultural acclimation process? The discussion and implications of the study will be presented.

Format: Roundtable Session


Patricia Higgins, Pellissippi State Community College
Mitsunori Misawa, The University of Tennessee - Knoxville
Session Date & Time: Thu, 07 Apr 2022 | 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT