Abstract This qualitative, descriptive study explored the extent to which students' discovery learning centered around cultural understanding and sensitivity occurs in a clinical rotation involving migrant health care. Thirteen nursing students enrolled in this community health clinical rotation were the study sample. Demographically, they were similar to other baccalaureate students in the school of nursing. Characteristics that set them apart were their levels of maturity, motivation, and independence, and their ability to cope with stress and ambiguity. Student journal entries were used to explore changes in cultural understanding and sensitivity over the course of an intensive six-week clinical experience. The method of inquiry was qualitative descriptive. Discovery learning from the perspective of the students was analyzed using domain analysis scheme. Themes that emerged from analysis of the data were personal and professional growth, specialized nursing practice roles with ethnic minorities, and health care system needs and issues for culturally sensitive care. Our findings contribute to faculty understanding of the degree to which student nurses make a transformation in terms of cultural understanding and sensitivity, and the process by which increased cultural understanding and sensitivity result in application of theoretical transcultural concepts.