From enclosure to exposure to enactment : a phenomenological study on the experiences of 20 Division 1 Black student-athletes abroad




Walker, Devin Leslie

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This phenomenological study explores the experiences of 20 Division I Black student-athletes who took part in international educational experiences as part of their collegiate careers, as well as the subsequent influence of these experiences on their identities and future orientation. This study utilizes the theoretical framework of Critical Race Theory (CRT) as well as the concept of figured worlds as described by Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner and Cain (1998). Many Black student-athletes suffer from identity foreclosure as they fail to develop salient aspects of their identity outside of the athlete role. International education proffers the opportunity to take advantage of a holistic collegiate experience, which can impede the detrimental effects of the athletic identity foreclosure process that disproportionately affects Black student-athletes. Education abroad can influence student-athletes’ personal, academic, and professional development while stimulating their critical consciousness of the world beyond the gym and campus. The number of college students in international education is increasing. However, most student-athletes are not given access to these opportunities. The 2016 NCAA Goals report highlighted student-athletes desire to have access to international education opportunities. The value of these student-athletes is critical the financial well-being of these institutions, yet they are often denied the invaluable opportunity to experience education abroad. This dissertation examines the process of identity negotiation and development that Black student-athletes experience as they partake in three types of international education: 1) Study Abroad, 2) Competition Abroad, and 3) Service-learning Abroad. This study is solution-oriented. The findings reveal that international education serves as an extracurricular learning experience that enhances the process of identity development and negotiation for Black student-athletes, diminishing the detrimental impact of identity foreclosure. There international learning experiences shaped their future orientation and positively influenced their ability to navigate their lives and careers after their playing days ended.


LCSH Subject Headings