Date of Award


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Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy




Sojourners are visitors to another country for a defined period of time where occupation is the primary reason for the visit. Study participants spent at least one academic year teaching English as a Foreign Language at a university in another country. Working in the context of a university in another country means teaching in a system predicated upon the local culture’s values and assumptions. Though all returned sojourners in this study attended a pre-departure orientation which included information about teaching in the assigned host culture, this kind of pre-departure preparation does not mean sojourner adjustment to the host culture will be without unexpected events. While daily life skills typically become more manageable over time, teaching in a host culture presents challenges that are less easy to resolve. This narrative inquiry explored how American instructors described their sojourner experience. Participant narratives of experience consisted of data sourced from interviews as well as from written and visual documents composed during the sojourn. An analysis of participant narratives suggests certain attitudes- being open to intercultural learning and having a sense of humor- help sojourners adjust to living and working in another country. This study also found sojourners encountered different cultural perspectives about teaching and learning, cultural informants helped sojourners navigate culturally-based challenges, and sojourners engaged in mutual intercultural exchange by acting as cultural informants about American culture. Returned sojourner narratives indicate a developing understanding of their own and others’ culturally-based perspectives. Sojourners’ personal narratives provide examples of the challenges and rewards of living and working in another country, and this study’s four findings are important for administrators and others interested in intercultural exchange.



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