Educational Administration, Department of


First Advisor

Elvira Abrica

Second Advisor

Deryl Hatch-Tocaimaza

Third Advisor

Brent Cejda

Date of this Version

Spring 4-21-2021


Desai, P. A. (2021). Yātrā: A Phenomenology of Acculturation and Sojourner Experience of Indian International Students in the U.S. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Nebraska.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Educational Leadership and Higher Education), Under the Supervision of Professor Elvira J. Abrica. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2021

Copyright 2021 (c) Pankaj Amrut Desai


This dissertation study utilized Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to understand the acculturation and sojourner experience of undergraduate Indian international students in the U.S. Midwest. Focusing exclusively on the lived experience of these students, this study engaged Berry’s Fourfold Model of Acculturation (Berry, 1992, 1994) and the ABC Model of Acculturation as presented by Ward et al., (2001) to amplify the voices of three participants to bring forth the meaning they attach to their experiences. This study made use of the concept of Yātrā to signify the multidimensional journey that these international students undertake while migrating from their heritage culture in India to the receiving culture in the U.S. Through in-depth semi-structured interviews, these students have shared their personal stories of adapting to change, learning along the way, and witnessing growth through their Yātrā in the U.S. Employing the process of double hermeneutics, meaning was made of the meaning attached to their Yātrā to understand their acculturation and coping strategies to overcome their acculturative stressors. This study has generated findings that would not only shed light on the acculturative process of these students but would also have implications for practice for educational leaders and practitioners. The findings of this study indicate that these students demonstrate a strong focus on doing well in the U.S. and exercise their grit and resilience to overcome their challenges.

Advisor: Elvira J. Abrica