A Light at the End of the Tunnel

An autoethnography of an international student in North America


  • Merab Mushfiq York University




autoethnography, international student, North America, international student experience


Over the last decade, North America has witnessed a tremendous growth in the enrollment of international students in higher education. Research shows that international students face various challenges and struggle to adjust in a new environment. They often experience stress, anxiety, loneliness, peer pressure, and financial issues, as well as, in some cases, forms of cultural, linguistic, and racial discrimination and inequities. This study explores the journey of an international student in North America while pursuing an undergraduate degree. Using autoethnography as a qualitative research method, I describe and systematically analyze my personal experiences as an international student. Through personal lived experiences and cultural differences, which intersect in ways that specifically speak to acculturative stress, oppression, language barriers, and academic challenges. These lived experiences and cultural differences intersect in ways that are often interconnected with social justice concerns. In conclusion, I call for providing more robust psychological, sociocultural, and academic support and services, which are crucial for international adjustment, stability and academic success. Additionally, I explain the importance of proper mentoring and peer support resources, which are necessary to navigate hurdles when transitioning into a new culture and academics, as well as in meeting everyday linguistic, social and practical challenges.


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How to Cite

Mushfiq, M. (2023). A Light at the End of the Tunnel: An autoethnography of an international student in North America. Journal of Student Research, 12(3). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsr.v12i3.2016



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