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Connections Abroad: Social Networking and Identity Formation as U.S. Students Study Abroad

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Abstract:

Scholars studying issues of identity with students studying outside their comfort zone have found that studying abroad challenges students to partake in cross-cultural interactions while encountering oneself, especially one’s national identity (Dolby, 2007; Dolby, 2004). Limited research exists on how U.S. students studying abroad negotiate their identities in a context that causes their identity to be influx. The use of new media as a means of creating and recreating identities within the context of cross-cultural transitions is a largely untapped area of study, yet it is proliferating as technology reduces the size of the world and increases abilities to communicate often and richly with members of the home culture. Using theoretical frameworks from sojourner literature, identity literature and computer-mediated communication, this paper analyzes 14 interviews with students during a communication abroad program in Scotland, Ireland and England, and focuses on the role that social networking sites and the engagement of U.S. media products played in negotiating their identities. One interesting aspect of this research is the potential for optimistic bias about adaptation to be created by and maintained through constant mediated contact with home culture friends and family. Through this analysis, the need for further research of computer-mediated communication and identity formation while studying abroad is identified, and the role of social networking within the adaptation process is revisited with respect to theories of technology and new media.
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Association:
Name: NCA 95th Annual Convention
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http://www.natcom.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p367093_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Cantu, Elizabeth. "Connections Abroad: Social Networking and Identity Formation as U.S. Students Study Abroad" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NCA 95th Annual Convention, Chicago Hilton & Towers, Chicago, IL, <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p367093_index.html>

APA Citation:

Cantu, E. "Connections Abroad: Social Networking and Identity Formation as U.S. Students Study Abroad" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the NCA 95th Annual Convention, Chicago Hilton & Towers, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2014-11-28 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p367093_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Scholars studying issues of identity with students studying outside their comfort zone have found that studying abroad challenges students to partake in cross-cultural interactions while encountering oneself, especially one’s national identity (Dolby, 2007; Dolby, 2004). Limited research exists on how U.S. students studying abroad negotiate their identities in a context that causes their identity to be influx. The use of new media as a means of creating and recreating identities within the context of cross-cultural transitions is a largely untapped area of study, yet it is proliferating as technology reduces the size of the world and increases abilities to communicate often and richly with members of the home culture. Using theoretical frameworks from sojourner literature, identity literature and computer-mediated communication, this paper analyzes 14 interviews with students during a communication abroad program in Scotland, Ireland and England, and focuses on the role that social networking sites and the engagement of U.S. media products played in negotiating their identities. One interesting aspect of this research is the potential for optimistic bias about adaptation to be created by and maintained through constant mediated contact with home culture friends and family. Through this analysis, the need for further research of computer-mediated communication and identity formation while studying abroad is identified, and the role of social networking within the adaptation process is revisited with respect to theories of technology and new media.


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