Translocation to Boise State University: Experiences at and Across Borders

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Arthur Scarritt


Students in American universities who experience their educations outside of their home countries are simultaneously offered personally rewarding opportunities and subjected to institutional barriers. Institutional barriers--like explicit and implicit language requirements, rigid procedures for progressing towards a degree, and isolated forms of multicultural accommodation--are at the same time disorienting for nondomestic students and unquestioned by (and seemingly inconsequential for) the university. Applying this context locally, we can see how while Boise State students may be personally suffering on the basis of their unfamiliarity with their school’s institutional structure and practices, the university itself continues to attract and benefit from enrolled nondomestic students. This tension between nondomestic student challenges and benefits to the university from admitting these same students leads me to claim that the various impetuses behind translocation of international, immigrant, and refugee students differently result in their educations functioning as processes for, and evidence of, their marketability, employability, and cultural assimilation. These processes differently responsibilize them to acquire mastery over the English language; understanding of institutional services; and ability to create solidaristic community for themselves. Drawing specifically from accounts of nondomestic student experiences at Boise State University, I will explain how the university takes advantage of different forms of translocation to extract revenue, cultural exhibition, and labour from nondomestic students.

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