• Becoming a stranger: The experience of African students' transformation in a baccalaureate school of nursing

      Omotosho, Samson Akinloye; Neal, Maggie T. (1998)
      This phenomenological study sought to understand the experience of African nursing students as they transition into nursing within the American culture. The central question was, what is it like to be an African nursing student in the United States? Students told stories about their experience that held significant meaning for them. Analysis of themes generated from the conversations revealed that the students' experience meant a personal transition and transformation, both as students and as strangers. The students' experience began with their detachment from home, a place that meant familiarity, security and comfort, indeed, was part of their very being. The detachment, experienced as a loss, was grieved by the students through frequent reference to home as they made comparisons of home's texture to that of their present life in America. The experience opened possibilities for realizing life's dreams. It also led to being a stranger. Being a stranger, the student was confronted with the challenges of making language effective, confronting issues about difference, learning new technology, facing unfamiliar methods of testing, and learning unfamiliar cultural practices. The students' transitioning encompassed adaptation, determination to succeed, reconciliation of new and old experiences, and the realization that some experiences were not reconcilable. Students were transformed by becoming more independent and developing new perspectives on life. Personally, the study initiated an inward journey that awakened a more holistic vision of the phenomenon of transition and transformation. It provided a new knowing that kindled a second chance at the meaning of being an African student. Finally, educators are urged to seek understanding of students through the art of unknowing; a call for open-mindedness, a posture for cherishing of diversity, a capacity for sensitivity to students' attachment to home places, and a consciousness for the historical nature of being. Administrators are urged to design orientation programs to address African students' difficulties related to technology, diversity and communication. African students need to reflect on memories of home and past, nourish those that make life flourish and unbound from those that are limiting. What might curriculum be like if these insights become praxis?