Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 07/13/2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Rehabilitation and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Susannah M. Wood


The number of international students in the U.S. is increasing, and a similar trend exists in the counselor education field. International students are defined as neither permanent residents nor U.S. citizens. It is therefore important for counselor educators to understand this population better in order to provide culturally appropriate career development training for them, as well as gain knowledge about their career decision-making process.

While several studies have investigated international students’ experiences with language barriers or cultural adjustment concerns, little research explores their lived experiences regarding the choice to stay or return to their home countries after completing their doctoral training. Given the limitations of previous studies on international students’ career development, this study focused on the career decision-making experiences of a particular subgroup of international students, namely, South Korean women in counselor education programs. The overarching research question guiding this study is: How do Korean female doctoral students and counselor educators who trained in CACREP-accredited programs experience/experienced their career decision-making processes upon graduation? The sub-questions of this study are: 1) How do they decide to pursue a particular job, either in their home country or in the U.S.? 2) What values impacted their career decisions?

The purpose of this qualitative study is to investigate the lived experiences of Korean female counselor educators who have decided on the location of their career upon graduation and explore how they made their decisions. Utilizing the phenomenological research method, this study aims to identify themes and patterns, as well as unique lived experiences in the career stories of Korean women counselor educators.

Findings from this study illustrated the unique career-decision-making experiences of Korean female counselor educators. By exploring their experiences, the researcher found common values influenced their career decisions were: family, academic freedom, belongingness, desire to make a scholarly contribution, and self-awareness. Participants also struggled from challenges like fear, hesitation, and exhaustion; limited resources; visa issues; language barrier and cultural differences; lack of publications; and competitive job market. Lastly, Korean female counselor educators utilized support systems such as Korean community, family, and their doctoral programs.

The findings provide insight into Korean female doctoral students’ career decision-making processes and contribute to U.S. university faculty and administrators' cultural awareness and understanding of the international student population in counselor education programs.


viii, 196 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 183-196).


Copyright © 2017 Sangmin Park

Available for download on Friday, July 13, 2018