Religion and spirituality are deemed an important aspect of human diversity, found to be important to people, and have significant impact on different aspects of functioning. Given the rising numbers of international students on U.S. campuses, it becomes important to examine how religion/spirituality impacts their sojourn in the U.S. This study explored the religious/spiritual experiences of Indian international students here in the U.S. using a qualitative approach. Thirteen Indian international students pursuing graduate degrees in the U.S. were interviewed. The interviews were then transcribed and analyzed using a synthesis of hermeneutic methods informed by Kvale (1996). The following themes emerged through the analysis of data: religion is a highly personalized and complex concept, coming to a foreign land brings about changes in the practice of religion, context is important in the experience of religion, certain religious ideas and practices are seen as helpful, and new experiences lead to an evolved way of thinking about religion. The findings suggest that religion/spirituality does tend to be important for Indian international students, though often in an indirect manner. These results offer ideas about ways in which advisement and counseling center staff, international student associations, and university personnel can best serve Indian international students through an open and welcoming approach that acknowledges and respects this important aspect of human diversity.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





religion, spirituality, adaptation, international university/college students, Asian Indians/South Asians