Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Judith H. Munter


This study seeks to develop a deeper understanding of the experience of transnational students in higher education in a U.S. public university. The setting for the study is the U.S.-Mexico border between Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. While numerous studies examine the experience of transnational K-12 populations in U.S. schools, there is limited research on students in advanced levels of higher education in this context.

The purpose of this study is to provide an in-depth perspective of the experiences of two transnational doctoral students enrolled at the doctoral level at a U.S. university on the U.S.-Mexico border. The research question this study examines is: "How do two transnational doctoral students from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, describe the experience of studying at an advanced level in a research-intensive U.S. university, and what does the transnational experience mean to them?"

Findings of the study indicate that the informants experienced a 21st century culture shock or "choque cultural," building on Oberg (1960). The informants' experience of "choque cultural" took place between two cities that are separated by about five miles, not between cultures in distant locations that are far away. The data were analyzed through an anthropological perspective, which indicated that the current violent context of Ciudad Juárez had an effect on the students in their doctoral work. Also considered in this framework were social fields and support systems described by the informants as part of their border identity.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

110 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Lyn McKinley