What Does It Mean To Take Online Classes As An International Student During COVID-19?


  • Katie K Koo University of Georgia
  • Mei Jiang Texas A&M University-Commerce




International students, online learning, COVID-19 pandemic


Using the Theory of Social Support and the Community of Inquiry as theoretical frameworks, this qualitative study explored international students’ experiences, challenges, and perceptions of online learning environments during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. By conducting three virtual focus group interviews with 18 international students, we identified four key themes that encapsulate participants’ challenges and experiences of online learning: social isolation in online learning spaces, difficulties with engaging in online class discussions and activities, limited opportunities for improving English proficiency in the online setting and limited academic support from faculty and advisors. Implications for research and practice to support international students are discussed. 


Author Biographies

Katie K Koo, University of Georgia

Katie Koo is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Development Services at the University of Georgia. Dr. Koo's research focus on minoritized students' college experiences and well-being.

Mei Jiang, Texas A&M University-Commerce

Dr. Mei Jiang is an assistant professor in Educational Leadership program at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Her research agenda focus on online learning for non-traditional students.


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