Much research is available that details student experiences of immigration and adaptation
to receiving countries and schools, but few studies analyze the metaphors used by
immigrant students (IS) when talking about the immigration experience, or offer a
comparative lens through which to view identity negotiation in two very different contexts.
The present paper aims to address these gaps by conducting a comparative linguistic
analysis of 20 interviews conducted with IS at universities in South Africa and the United
States in order to gain a greater understanding of immigration and the types of identity
negotiation processes learners undergo in these very different countries. Findings reveal
interesting similarities between metaphorical conceptions of immigration across different
cultural contexts and a remarkable resilience in the use of adaptation strategies and identity
development that leads to salient pedagogical implications for teachers of higher education
who face increasingly international classrooms.