Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Paul Sproll

Second Advisor

Dr. Mariah Doren


This thesis explores the experiences of multilingual, international graduate students at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Through interviews with eight international and multilingual graduate students from different RISD departments, the researcher asks students to identify what helps and hinders their learning. The author situates interviewee responses in the context of scholarly literature that examines the experiences and predicted challenges faced by multilingual international students enrolled in art and design schools and more broadly in higher education. Further, this thesis’ research questions are examined within the complexities of and ongoing conversations about creating a more equitable and inclusive RISD and the potential of its recently adopted Social Equity and Inclusion initiative. The emergent themes that surfaced from the literature review and the interviews are used not only to raise questions about the nature of the students’ experiences, expectations and the challenges they faced, but in doing so to suggest broader implications for teaching and learning at RISD and beyond.

Included in

Art Education Commons



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