Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Journal of International Students Volume 13, Issue 2 (2023), pp. 172-188



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Although international female students accounted for 44% of the enrolled international students in the United States (U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System, 2020), their experiences regarding their ethnic name are relatively understudied in the onomastic literature. This study considers the experiences of eight international female graduate students of Color who are studying at a Midwestern predominantly White university. Utilizing critical race theory (CRT) and critical race feminism (CRF) as the theoretical and analytical lenses, this qualitative phenomenological study collected data through semistructured, in-depth interviews. We explore the meaning of ethnic names and their connection to participants’ multidimensional identities. The findings include experiences with microaggressions, discrimination, and racism among students in relation to their ethnic name and point to underlying factors. Finally, implications are offered for students, faculty members, and administrators to build authentically inclusive and equitable learning communities more effectively.