An Ethnographic Case Study of Saudi Women Studying in an Intensive English Immersion Program in the Southern United States


​This qualitative research study explores the social networks, education, experiences, ideas, and reflections of five Saudi Arabian women studying in an intensive English immersion program in the Southern United States. Research participants included five Saudi female students, two teachers, and two administrators, all of whom are affiliated with an intensive English immersion program in a small city in the Southeastern United States. Data were collected in two to three rounds of audio-recorded interviews. Interviews with the female Saudi students were conducted initially as a group, and later as individuals. Stella Ting-Toomey’s Communicating Across Cultures (1999) text provides us with the Face Negotiation Theory, which will serve as our theoretical framework for discussing the cultural communication and “face” or “self-image,” of which the Saudi females use for identity management during their time studying abroad. Additionally, Paolo Freire’s critical pedagogy philosophy as presented in the text Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970), will be discussed to explore how the Saudi female participants are reflecting on and evaluating their own individual education processes. This was evident in the responses and direction that the Saudi female participants gave during the interview process with regards to their individual needs and wants for a more conducive learning experience from their intensive English immersion program.


Gender Studies, Arabic, ESL, TESOL, Higher Education, Study Abroad


Learning in Higher Education


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Brandy Hudson
    • Literacy Coach/Literacy Teacher Development Specialist, Literacy Department, Metro Nashville Public Schools
    • I have been a teacher for seventeen years. I have taught primarily as an English as a Second Language teacher, but also have a background in teaching Spanish, Reading, and American History. I spent seven years as an ESL professor at the University of Tennessee teaching English to international students in the Tennessee Intensive English Program. My Masters Degree is in Intercultural Studies, and my Bachelors Degree is in Elementary Education and ESL with a minor in Spanish. In addition to teaching full-time, I have been working eighteen years part-time as both a representative and coordinator for a non-profit goverment group called World Heritage Exchange Organization, which is an international exchange student organization that seeks out, recruits, screens, and monitors host families in the United States for international students from all over the world.