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The cultural adaptation of Japanese college students in a study abroad context : an ethnographic study Segawa, Megumi 1998

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THE CULTURAL ADAPTATION OF JAPANESE COLLEGE STUDENTS IN A STUDY ABROAD CONTEXT: A N ETHNOGRAPHIC STUDY by MEGUMI SEGAWA B.Ed., Kobe University, 1992 MA, University of British Columbia, 1994 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHJLOSOPHY in FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Centre for Studies in Curriculum and Instruction) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA JULY 1998 ©Megumi Segawa, 1998 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of ErcLotC cc~f~c< The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT Using ethnographic methods, namely in-depth interviews and participant-observation, I examined the everyday experiences of fifteen female Japanese students during a nine-month study abroad. I attempted to investigate (1) the nature of cultural learning in the participants of this study during their sojourn and (2) how different social networks in the sojourn context affected the processes of their cultural learning and adaptation to the host environment. I employed models of cross-cultural adaptation based on a perspective of cultural learning / social skill acquisition as a theoretical framework. During the first few months in Canada, students without previous international sojourn experiences seemed to be physically and emotionally vulnerable. Some students experienced emotional upheaval which was consistent with previously published accounts of the characteristics of the sojourner adaptation process. A close association of the Japanese within their group throughout their sojourn resulted in the formation of an ethnic enclave in the dormitory community. This provided a support network for most of the Japanese students, but at the same time, caused interpersonal conflicts in the group. The strong group solidarity also negatively affected the relationship between the Japanese students and their Canadian peers in the dormitory. The Japanese students in this study not only had to adapt to the socio-cultural characteristics of the host environment, but also to the norms and values of their own group which reflected their cultural heritage. Although they encountered a number of challenges while in Canada, the process of overcoming difficulties and absorbing new experiences enabled them to grow personally and intellectually. Towards the end of their sojourn and after returning to Japan, the students recognised positive changes in their attitude and behaviour which they attributed to the different experiences they had through their study abroad. While several findings of the study indicated that the participants' adaptation to the new cultural setting reflected theoretical propositions in the cross-cultural adaptation literature, the study also showed how the unique nature of the students' sojourn environment had a significant impact on their adaptation process. Table of Contents Abstract ii Table of Contents iii Acknowledgements vi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1 Background and Rationale of the Present Study 1 Japanese Young Adults and Study Abroad 3 Relevance of my Personal Experience to the Present Study 5 The Research Questions and the Organization of the Thesis 8 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 10 Definitions of Key Concepts 10 Culture 10 Sojourner....: 12 Sojourner Adaptation 13 Experience 14 Student Sojourner and Study Abroad Experience 15 Historical Overview of Cross-Cultural Adaptation Research 19 Culture Shock 19 Models of Cross-Cultural Adjustment 21 Cultural Learning and Social Skills Acquisition Model of Adaptation 22 An Alternative Approach to Cross-Cultural Adaptation: Cross-Cultural Communication Theory 23 Outcomes of Cross-Cultural Adaptation Process 25 The Sojourner's Adaptive Predisposition 26 The Social Climate of the Host Society 27 The Sojourner's Communication Network 27 Host communication competence (HCC) 27 The sojourner's interpersonal communication 28 Educational Theories and Study Abroad Experiences 30 Adaptation as a Learning Process: Perspective Transformation Theory 30 Primary Concepts of Multicultural Education and Effective Study Abroad Programs 35 Cultural Pluralism 35 Cultural Learning 38 The Curriculum and Study Abroad Experience 42 Conclusion 47 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY AND PROCEDURE 50 Methodological Orientation 50 The Positivist Quantitative Research Paradigm 50 The Naturalist Qualitative Research Paradigm 51 Symbolic Interactionism 52 Ethnographic Inquiry 55 iii Researcher's Biography and the Fieldwork 57 Fieldwork Roles 59 Researcher's Subjectivity: the Notion of Reflexivity 61 Procedure of the Study 63 The Nature of the Research Setting 64 Physical Environment of the Research Setting 64 Description of "Pacific Rim Education Abroad (PREA)" Program 65 Academic Course Work 65 Extra-Curricular Activity 67 Dormitory Life 69 Participants of the Study 70 The Development of an Active Membership Researcher Self 79 Seeking Entry 79 Researcher as Instrument and Participant: My Evolving Relationship with the Student Participants 80 Ethical Issues Related to the Present Study 87 Methods of Data Collection 90 Duration of Data Collection 90 Data Collection Techniques 91 Interviews 91 Participant-observation 93 Artefact Collection 94 Reflexive Journals 95 Data Analysis Procedure 95 Data analysis Strategies 95 Ethnographic Validity and Reliability 97 Conclusion 101 CHAPTER 4 THE 'PREA' EXPERIENCE 103 Preparations for the Study Abroad 103 An Encounter With the New Environment 104 Settling Down and Coping With the New Environment 110 Christmas Homestay 119 Back to the Dormitory Life 125 Farewell to a Familiar Environment 133 Back to Reality 139 CHAPTER 5 FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING IN STUDY ABROAD 146 Reflections on Academic Learning Experiences 146 Course Work 146 Language Development 149 Everyday Learning Experiences 153 Involvement with the Local Church Community 153 Canadian Society and Culture 156 About Friends and Families in Japan 158 The Japanese Students in the Group 161 Personal Changes during Study Abroad 162 CHAPTER 6 ANALYSIS OF THE FINDINGS 169 Study Abroad as a Cultural Adaptation / Learning Process 169 Purposes for Studying Abroad 169 Cross-Cultural Transition and Stressful Experiences 170 Patterns of Adaptation Process 173 Key Factors in the PREA Students' Cross-Cultural Adaptation Processes 177 Outcomes of Studying Abroad for the PREA Students 183 Education through Study Abroad Programs 185 A Return to the Major Questions of the Study 186 Recommendations to the Practitioners of Study Abroad Programs 188 Ethnographic Research as Learning Experience 194 Methodological Contributions of the Present Study 196 Limitation of the Study and Suggestions for Future Research Projects 197 References 199 Appendix A The Time Schedules of the PREA program (Term 1 & Term 2) 207 Appendix B Sample Questions for Individual Interviews (No. 1 & No. 6) 208 Appendix C Friendship Questionnaire 210 Appendix D Japanese Interview Transcripts for Direct Quotes 213 v ACKNOWLEDGMENT The completion of this thesis means the end of my sojourn in Canada. I will soon return to Japan with new values and knowledge acquired during the past six years of my life in Canada. As I worked on this thesis, I sometimes thought about my own sojourn experience as well as my up coming re-entry experience into Japanese society. Throughout my graduate work at the University of British Columbia, I have met many individuals who helped me go through the long and challenging journey. I would like to thank Dr. Rita Irwin who helped me create my first ethnographic account using experiences of the young Japanese women whom I came to know closely through my fieldwork. Thank you very much for your support and encouragement. I always felt energised after meeting with you at your office. I would like to thank Dr. Jack Kehoe who was my M.A. thesis supervisor and my Ph.D. program advisor. Without his guidance and encouragement upon the completion of my M.A. program, I would not be writing this dissertation today. Thank you very much! I hope you will have many happy retirement days. I would also like to thank Dr. Shauna Butterwick who introduced me to the qualitative research paradigm. Shauna, I enjoyed your course very much and I have appreciated your continuous support and advice throughout my fieldwork. Without your encouragement, I might have given up my fieldwork due to the continuous challenges of handling many different roles in my research setting. People involved in the study abroad program in this research, especially the fifteen students highlighted in the case study, have to be acknowledged. Without their support, I could not have completed this study. I would also like to thank my colleagues at the University of British Columbia for their advice and support. I also appreciate my close friends in Canada, Japan, and elsewhere for their continuous encouragement throughout my graduate work. Finally, I thank my parents, Akitoshi and Toshiko Segawa, for their love, support and understanding, and my husband, Ulrich Reinhardt, who was always there for me whenever I needed him. vi C H A P T E R 1: I N T R O D U C T I O N Background and Rationale of the Present Study In this dissertation, I describe and analyse a study abroad program in order to explore how participants of the program manage their transition to a new environment. Specifically, I attempt to gain a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic interactions between students and their living context and how those dynamics affect students' perceptions of their cross-cultural experiences. I focus on the life world of the student sojourners as I investigate a study abroad program from their perspective. In addition, I draw on my analysis of the implementation of the curriculum to examine how students negotiate conflicts between their individual wishes and the goals set by the practitioners of the program. Modern transportation and communication technology enables people to travel and make direct contact with members of many different societies. With increased ease of travel comes a rapid growth in the number of international students around the world. For instance, secondary school students may stay with host families to learn about every day life in a different country (Hansel, 1993), while post secondary students may enrol in a host university to enhance their knowledge about specialised fields or obtain a foreign degree (Kauffmann, Martin, Weaver, & Weaver, 1992). Even though these students could learn about different cultures in their home countries, only the study abroad program enables them to gain first-hand experience of another culture and leam about different worldviews held by members of the culture. While the structures and content of university exchange programs may vary depending on the organisers' intentions and the participants' demographic characteristics, a common underlying objective seems to be to provide students with an opportunity for personal growth and intellectual development (Abrams, 1960 in Klineberg, 1981a; Kauffmann, et al., 1992). Similarly, participants of international student exchange programs attend a foreign university not only to gain academic knowledge, but also to embrace the challenge of adapting to different beliefs and expectations in a foreign academic culture. Face-to-face interaction with people in a new environment also allows them to establish new friendships and to reflect on tacit influences received from their own culture. 1 With the increasing incidence of study abroad, social scientists have begun to examine the impacts of academic sojourn experience on foreign students, especially the process of adaptation to the host countries. For example, Japanese educational researchers began research on cross-cultural adaptation and re-adaptation in the 1970s when educators in Japan faced challenges with the integration of overseas returnees into the regular education system (Uehara, 1987). While college students form the largest part of the Japanese overseas student population, only a few studies have dealt with college age students' cross-cultural experiences (see e.g., Kassebaum, 1990; Segawa, 1992; Uehara, 1987). Some of these studies are short-term projects in which researchers employ quantitative techniques to identify negative factors involved in the process of cross-cultural adaptation. The external conditions contributing to the particular adaptation experience have not been fully examined. From the psychologist perspective, it may be important to highlight difficulties Japanese students may encounter in foreign countries. However, as an educator in an international student exchange, I believe that it is also necessary to understand the interaction between students and their living conditions which generate specific challenges upon their adaptation to the particular environment. To date, the existing studies of Japanese college students' cross-cultural adaptation experiences have not examined the relationship between the adaptation processes and students' learning experiences. With their learning / growth model, Furnham and Bochner (1982) argue that cross-cultural experience is a learning process in which sojourners acquire new sets of social and cultural skills shared by members of their host societies. According to Kim (1995, 1991, 1988), human beings are naturally driven to adapt to a given environment and as a result, foreign students will acquire an ability to cope with daily life in their host societies. Criticising the learning / growth model's lack of consideration on ways in which sojourners take part in cultural learning, Taylor (1994 b) proposes an intercultural competency learning model based on Mezirow's (1991, 1990) transformational learning theory. He contends it is essential to understand the actual learning process embedded in the cross-cultural adaptation process in order to develop effective education programs designed to help sojourners obtain fruitful intercultural experiences. 2 Considering the general scarcity of the cross-cultural adaptation research focusing on the foreign students' learning experience in their specific sojourn context, in the present study, I examined everyday experiences of Japanese students participating in a study abroad program. In particular, I investigated how they engaged in cultural learning and reflected on their sojourn experiences while trying to adapt to their sojourn context. My aim was to gain insights into students' experiences in their new environment through a close examination of how the students perceived their everyday learning experiences. The study also investigated applicability of selected theories on cross-cultural adaptation and cultural learning to a particular group of students. Ethnographic methods were employed to investigate the students' everyday lives in their natural living context and to explore their understanding and interpretation of their experiences during the sojourn. The ethnographic account of this study may encourage other foreign students to reflect on their own experiences of study abroad and contemplate the meanings of their experiences. Similarly, the findings of the study may encourage teachers working with international student exchange programs to speculate how their students make sense of their sojourn experiences as well as their adaptation processes to the new environment. Moreover, the study findings may help curriculum designers of study abroad programs develop education programs which foster both the learners' academic knowledge and their capabilities to adapt to different socio-cultural environments. Japanese Young Adults and Study Abroad Following the devastation of World War II Japan secured steady yet dramatic economic growth. An increased standard of living in an average household allowed more people to make overseas trips or send their children to educational sojourns abroad. Recent statistics show that the annual number of Japanese who go to study abroad has increased approximately eight times from 1983 to 1993 (ICS Kokusai Bunka Kyoiku Senta, 1994). The proportion of female students and younger students has increased in recent years. Nearly 5000 university and college students have studied abroad in 1990, three times more than the estimated figure in 1985 (Ministry of Education, Science and Culture quoted in Kato, 1992). The most popular destination among Japanese students is the United States where in 1990 3 approximately 50% of the Japanese students studied (The Ministry of Justice, Immigration Control Office quoted in Kato, 1992). According to the same statistics, Canada ranked as the fourth popular destination after England and China. In the late 1980s to early 1990s, educational institutions and private businesses promoted study abroad as an effective way to internationalise young Japanese. According to Kato (1992), five types of study abroad programs are currently available for Japanese secondary students through to graduate school level students1. These are 1) "koukou ryugaku " or high school study abroad, 2) "daigaku ryugaku " or college / university study abroad, 3) "daigakuin ryugaku " or graduate school study abroad, 4) "gogaku ryugaku " or language study abroad, and 5) "homustei ryugaku " or homestay study abroad. The first three types usually involve official educational institutions in the host countries. Some students at both secondary and post-secondary levels organise their study abroad by directly contacting a host educational institution but most go through public and private schools in Japan which have exchange agreements with schools in North America. High school exchange programs are usually short-term programs offered to groups of students, whereas at the graduate school level, fewer students are exchanged but participate for longer periods of time. Language study abroad and homestay abroad are the most popular study abroad systems among Japanese youth because these types of study abroad programs do not require advanced language skills or academic performance. They differ from the other three types in that they do not involve official educational institutions and are easily arranged by private companies in Japan. These companies contact private language schools in host countries to prepare immigration documents, language training programs, and homestay arrangements for their clients. For the countries that have agreements with the Japanese government, students can also obtain a working holiday visa which allows them to stay in host countries for half a year to a year, to work and study. While the promotion of these forms of study abroad by both 11 have changed the order of Kato's list based on the nature of the supporting agencies. Since the majority of Japanese students choose North America as a destination of their study abroad, examples I used in this discussion assume North American countries as the receiving country. 4 government and the private companies has made it easier for young Japanese people to directly experience different cultures, it has also given many of them the false idea that study abroad resembles an extended vacation (Kato, 1992). In the past, the major purpose of going abroad was to obtain new knowledge which in turn would help develop the home society. Currently, many Japanese people go abroad to fulfil more personal goals. For example, most people going to English speaking countries aim to improve their English by having direct contact with native speakers. Other important reasons to study abroad are to leam about different cultures and to experience a change in one's lifestyle. Being brought up in a homogeneous society where blending in is considered a virtue, yet being constantly subjected to media images of foreign countries with unique cultures, young Japanese people gladly seek the adventure of stepping out and into the experience of something new. Particularly, young women in their twenties often quit their office jobs and go abroad to change their lifestyle or to improve their qualification for further career development (ICS Kokusai Bunka Kyoiku Senta, 1994). It seems that for these people, study abroad provides an opportunity to transform themselves in a dramatic way. The freedom people enjoy when by themselves in a foreign country is a perceived and added benefit by some, whereas it serves as the main reason to go abroad to others. In summary, the recent popularity of study abroad among young Japanese may be attributed to a combination of economic well-being and desire for foreign language skill development set within new and exciting experiences. Relevance of my Personal Experience to the Present Study My interest in the topic of the present study stems from my personal experience as a student in a study abroad program. I came to Canada for the first time at the age of twenty when I decided to improve my English by having first-hand experience in an English speaking context. My belief that the best way to learn a foreign language was through immersion into a native-speaking environment was based on the foreign language education I experienced in my schooling. In middle school and high school, English was always considered a major subject, and was a required subject for entrance examinations to the next level 5 of schooling. Throughout secondary and tertiary education, the language training emphasised memorisation of grammatical rules and direct translation of English text into Japanese. Communication skills in English were seldom taught or necessary to become academically successful. Therefore, when I came to Canada, I was still unable to communicate with English speaking people. I was angry at myself and the teachers who had taught me unusable English, but believed that I could activate my passive knowledge of the language and improve my English while in Canada. In fact, attending English as a Second Language (ESL) schools in Canada not only helped me improve my communication skills, but introduced me to people from countries around the world. As a rather shy and quiet Asian student, I was struck by the differences in social manners and customs of the students from different cultures. However, I developed friendships with other foreign students, and gradually recognised the similarities among us despite our unique backgrounds. Retrospectively, I can pinpoint many positive experiences I had during my first year in Canada, but I was also struggling in the strange environment. I often became frustrated with my inability to express my feelings in English and to completely understand others. Especially, I had problems with my classmates because of our broken English and particular accents. I also had difficulties having conversations with Canadians when they spoke quickly. Apart from communication difficulties, I suffered from severe homesickness during my first six months in Canada. Being away from my parents and friends was far more challenging than I had expected. Although my Japanese-Canadian host family treated me as a family member and supported me throughout my stay in Canada, occasionally I could not help feeling awkward playing the role of a daughter in someone else's family. Toward the end of my stay, I began to feel quite comfortable living in Canada. The school building, subway stations, and stores along the street had lost their strangeness, and all became a familiar part of my everyday life. As I had developed my social network with local people, my fear of speaking English completely disappeared. Instead, I became more willing to take risks and explore different parts of 6 the city. I even thought about staying in Canada to finish my university degree, but I eventually returned to Japan as I had originally planned. The impact of the one year sojourn abroad on my life lingered on for a long time. I maintained a strong pro-Canadian / anti-Japanese attitude for a while after I returned to Japan. I feared that by re-adapting to the Japanese way of living, I would lose what I had gained in Canada, especially my English ability. I tried to keep my friendships with people whom I had met in Canada and associate more with individuals who had similar overseas experiences rather than with university friends who had not lived or studied abroad. Looking back at my post-sojourn period, I think my re-adaptation process to the Japanese society was more problematic than my adaptation to Canadian society2. Having had a complete circle of cross-cultural adaptation and re-adaptation experience, I became interested in foreign students' experiences during their sojourns abroad, especially their social-cultural adaptation to the host environment. More specifically, I was interested in how the sojourn context affected the students' adaptation process to the host environment, and their subjective views on the study abroad experience. There have been numerous studies done on the issue of cross-cultural adaptation process, most of which employed large scale surveys or questionnaires which identify factors affecting different stages of the adaptation process. These studies may be useful in predicting physical and psychological problems during overseas sojourns, but models based on these studies do not show how the specific sojourn context can produce unique challenges and advantages to sojourners in their adaptation processes to the new culture. In order to examine sojourn experiences in a holistic way, I chose qualitative methods for this study, specifically participant observation and in-depth ethnographic and reflective interviews. By taking such an approach, I attempted to gain an understanding of what participants of the study abroad program went through during their sojourn and how they reflected on their experiences once they returned to their home country. Findings yielded through such a research strategy may contribute to the development of new 2 Merry White offers a comprehensive examination of the issues pertaining to the reentry of Japanese overseas in (1988) The Japanese Overseas: Can they go home again? 7 theories of the cross-cultural adaptation process of student sojourners. In this study, I selected a group of Japanese students because of my own cultural and linguistic background. My personal experience as a student sojourner helped me understand the excitement and struggles the participants of this study shared with me while they were in Canada. My re-entry experience also gave me insights which were useful for the investigation of the students' post-sojourn lives in Japan and helped me formulate questions for the follow-up interview. The Research Questions and the Organization of the Thesis Employing an ethnographic approach, this study examined the lifeworld of fifteen Japanese students in their everyday sojourn environment. The investigation was guided by the following research questions. What are the essential characteristics of student sojourners' learning experiences during their sojourn in Canada? In order to set focus on particular aspects of the students' experiences, three sub-questions were developed: 1) What are the fundamental characteristics of the sojourn context for the participants involved in the present study? 2) How does life in the dormitory affect the participants' adaptation processes to their sojourn context? 3) How do the participants perceive their relationships with other members of the program and how does the group dynamic affect their adaptation to their sojourn context? These questions will be developed through the following five chapters. In Chapter 2,1 review literature related to the topic of the present study, especially on foreign students' experience, the sojourner cross-cultural adaptation, and selected educational theories on cultural learning, multicultural education, and curriculum orientation. In Chapter 3,1 propose two methodological positions in qualitative research as the methodological foundation of the study. I also describe the data collection procedures, the research setting and the nature and consequence of my active involvement into the study abroad program. In Chapter 4,1 present a chronological summary of the Japanese students' sojourn experiences, especially their everyday lives in the foreign university dormitory. In Chapter 5 , 1 describe significant issues related 8 to the students' sojourn experiences which emerged through the key informants' reflection on their daily lives in Canada. In Chapter 6,1 discuss the main findings of the study in relation to some of the theoretical propositions outlined in Chapter 2 . Then, based on the findings of this study, I present some recommendations to practitioners and researchers of international student exchanges. Finally I briefly reflect on my learning experience in conducting the qualitative study and discuss methodological contributions of the present study. 9 CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE The purpose of this study was to gain an in-depth knowledge about the adaptation experiences of participants during a study abroad program in a Canadian environment. Before starting my fieldwork, I examined research literature on sojourner cross-cultural adaptation, intercultural communication, and learning / educational theories which were relevant to the subject of the present study. In this chapter, I will review the selected literature on cross-cultural adaptation and intercultural communication which serve as a theoretical framework for the study. I will also discuss the literature on transformational learning experience, foreign language acquisition, multicultural education, and curriculum theories which provide insights into possible educational benefits of study abroad experience. Before presenting the literature review, however, Twill first discuss operational definitions of culture, sojourner, sojourner adaptation, and experience which became key concepts of the present study. Definition of Key Concepts Culture In their introductory chapter on cross-cultural training programs, Brislin and Yoshida (1994) describe the relationship between people and culture: Many people about to interact extensively with others from different cultural backgrounds are unaware that there is a major influence on behavior summarized by the word culture. People are socialized in a culture without much conscious awareness of the fact. They think about culture much like they think about the air they breathe: They take it for granted. People think about culture only when it is taken away from them, and this occurs when they have to interact extensively in another culture. Training, then, should introduce an awareness that there is a major influence called culture, that it has major effects on people's lives, and that different behaviors are considered culturally appropriate in different parts of the world, (pp.5-6) Brislin and Yoshida regard culture as something which people gradually learn to internalise in the process of their primary socialisation which in turn determines the way they behave. Similarly, Gudykunst and Hammer (1988) maintain culture serves as an "implicit" theory which enables people to guide their actions and make sense of behaviour of others. They explain that people are usually not aware of their everyday behaviours because these behaviours have been incorporated into their habits. As Brislin and Yoshida 10 state, Gudykunst and Hammer also describe entry into different cultures often make people become conscious of their habitual behaviour. In the field of cross-cultural adaptation and intercultural communication, culture is usually regarded as "... the human creation and use of symbols and artefacts. Culture may be taken as constituting the way of life of an entire society, and this includes codes of manners, dress, language, rituals, norms of behavior, and system of belief' (Jary & Jary, 1991, p. 101). One of the significant characteristics of culture is that it is shared, learned, and transformed by people who possess it. More specifically, Ishii (1990) suggests that culture consists of two levels: "high culture" and "general culture." According to Ishii, "high culture" reflects high level philosophical thoughts and products of scientific, academic, or artistic activities and is constructed on the basis of the "general culture." Established scholars and artists are the ones who engage in and contribute to the development of this level of culture. "General culture," on the other hand, refers to the entire life of citizens. It encompasses the sum of abilities and habits acquired by all the members of the society which includes language, knowledge, religion, tradition, ethics, law, and customs. Ishii further explains that general culture consists of three main components - "spiritual culture," "behavioural culture," and "material culture." "Spiritual culture" refers to one's inner activity such as one's cognitive style, value system, world view, attitude, and thinking pattern. "Behavioural culture" mainly consists of one's verbal and non-verbal communication style used to express his / her "spiritual culture." "Material culture" is usually represented by the material aspect of one's life style and living condition. Ishii contends that it is more important to examine symbolic meanings of materials within a particular culture than it is to merely list the kinds of materials used by people. While I agree with Ishii's notion of general culture, I also want to recognise various sub-cultures existing in different sections of a society. In my view, the ways in which people think and behave do not singularly reflect the kind of culture which they share with all other members of the society, but also reflect the values and beliefs which are unique to their local communities, their work places, and their family members (see also Erickson, 1997). While people's lives are to some extent influenced by certain 11 characteristics of their country, I assume that conditions of their immediate living context and their relationships with others in the particular environment would also have a strong impact on the ways in which they manage their daily lives. In other words, people's lives are surrounded by layers of cultures and they gradually learn norms embedded in different cultures in order to behave appropriately in a given situation. Thus, as a stranger in a foreign country, student sojourners will probably have to deal with a number of different types of cultures existing within their host society. In order to become used to the new setting and people around them in a relatively short time, they will need to learn norms in the local context as well as some distinctive characteristics of the host country. In short, in the present study, I conceptualized the culture of a society as multi-layered and defined cross-cultural adaptation not only as a process of learning about a different "general culture," but also as an on-going attempt to become familiar with one's immediate socio-cultural context in a foreign country. Sojourner The concept of sojourner and the concept of cross-cultural adaptation are both vaguely defined in the literature (Ady, 1995; Furnham, 1987). Researchers usually do not clarify what they mean by these terms and sometimes give different meanings to the same word. For example, the term "sojourner" is often used interchangeably with the term "stranger" which refers to someone who is new to the given environment (Siu, 1952). Kim (1995, 1991, 1988) and Kim and Ruben (1988) use "stranger" to denote a broader category of people who are tourists, sojourners, immigrants, or refugees. Similarly, Furnham and Bochner (1986) use the term "cultural travellers" to refer to individuals who temporarily or permanently leave their homelands and move to different countries. Ady (1995) presents a more specific definition of the sojourner. He states that sojourners usually do not have the intention to stay permanently in the host culture, and therefore, should be distinguished from immigrants and refugees who usually stay in the host country and seek permanent citizenship. Furnham (1987) also points out differences between sojourners and individuals in other categories (i.e., tourists, immigrants, or refugees) in terms of the length and purposes of sojourn. According to her 12 explanation, sojourners spend a medium length of time (six months to five years) with the intention that they will eventually return home; whereas, tourists, immigrants, and refugees spend either too short or too long a period of time in a foreign country to be considered as sojourners. Furnham also points out that sojourners are usually more goal-oriented than tourists or immigrants. Students participating in a study abroad program stay in a foreign country for a limited length of time (maximum a year) and return home after completion of their educational sojourn (Thomas & Hawell, 1994). Based on the definitions of sojourner proposed by Ady (1995) and Furnham (1987), the student sojourner in the present study referred to a person who participates in an educational program offered in a foreign country for a medium length of time (six months to a year) with the intention of going home. Sojourner Adaptation In the literature of cross-cultural contact, adaptation generally refers to "...the process of establishing and maintaining a relatively stable reciprocal relationship with ... the human, social, or interpersonal environment" (Brody, 1970, p. 14). Sullivan (1981) defines cultural adaptation as a process in which people from diverse backgrounds come to create some form of common ground. She contends that successful cultural adaptation requires mutual respect and awareness that"... different people do the same thing in different ways" (p.274). Church (1982) suggests that sojourner adaptation processes should be recognised as different from other phenomena such as "cultural or ethnic assimilation," and "cultural adaptation" which indicate a more long-term assimilation within the host culture. Similarly, Brislin (1981) explains short-term adaptation processes separately from those which are long-term. Berry (1980 in Ady, 1995) also maintains that sojourner adaptation is an individually based process in contrast to the acculturation or assimilation process which involves a group of people moving from one country to another. Combining these ideas for this study, the sojourner adaptation was defined as a relatively short-term and individually based process of developing and maintaining stable mutual relationships with people in the sojourn environment. 13 Experience Describing and analysing the everyday experiences of the participants in the study abroad program was the focus of data collection for this study. More specifically, this study attempted to explore how students coped with particular challenges pertaining to their adaptation to the new environment and what they gained from their sojourn experiences. Dewey (1938) describes the nature of experience as determined by the kind of transaction people have with what constitutes their environment at a given time in a given situation. In other words, the nature of the student sojourner's experience depends on how external conditions of the given environment interact with his / her internal conditions such as personal needs, desires, and purposes because, as Dewey maintains, "[a]ny experience is an interplay of these two sets of conditions" (p.42). He also argues that to live in a world means to live in a series of situations in which one gains a variety of experiences he / she can use as a basis for formulating hypotheses to explain future situations. From Dewey's perspective, student sojourners will eventually be able to cope with various situations they encounter in the new socio-cultural setting by going through different experiences during their sojourn. Regarding this point, however, I do not think having various experiences is enough for student sojourners to become successful in handling a different culture. What they need to do is to examine the meaning of their experience and learn from it. Phenomenologists' understanding of human experience emphasises the importance of this reflective appreciation of one's experience. Regarding the human experience in the world, phenomenologists assert that"... consciousness is the only access human beings have to the world..." because "[t]o be conscious is ... to be aware of some aspect of the world" (van Manen, 1990, p. 9). Since neither consciousness nor the world itself can be directly described without reference to conscious human beings, phenomenologists use reflection on one's lived experience to understand the relationship between an individual and his / her world. In phenomenological research, "lived experience" is considered as one's immediate and pre-reflective experience of the here-and-now situation in which they find themselves. Van Manen maintains that: 14 [v]arious thinkers have noted that lived experience first of all has a temporal structure: it can never be grasped in its immediate manifestation but only reflectively as past presence. Moreover, our appropriation of the meaning of lived experience is always of something past that can never be grasped in its full richness and depth since lived experience implicates the totality of life, (p.36) As Dewey (1938) explains, one can observe other people's experience by examining their interaction with their surroundings, but if one wants to understand what meanings the experience has for them, he / she has to encourage them to reflectively evaluate the experience they went through. Using a phenomenological approach to human experience enables a researcher to gain insight into another's experience, based on his / her reflective and subjective understanding of the experience. In the present study, the notion of experience was perceived as follows: people construct their experience through continuous interaction with their surroundings and they can understand and appreciate the meanings of their "lived experiences" through reflective thinking. Student Sojourner and Study Abroad Experience Student sojourners are usually young and have diverse motivations to go abroad. Although a variety of factors affect individuals' decisions to participate in study abroad programs, some of their main reasons are to enhance their academic ability, to obtain a foreign degree or diploma, and to satisfy their curiosity (Klineberg, 1981b). In general, student sojourners are considered to be highly motivated and are willing to make adjustments in order to quickly become functional in the host culture and fulfil their educational objectives (Thomas &Hawell, 1994). Since moving from one culture to another requires individuals to relearn socio-cultural norms and skills (Kim, 1988), it seems unavoidable for foreign students to encounter misunderstandings and confusions before acquiring a functional level of cultural and social skills needed in their host culture. Numerous researchers of cross-cultural adaptation have reported that living in foreign countries is stressful for international students, especially at the initial stage of their sojourn, and the stress sometimes causes them physical and psychological disorders. Although some of the problems are related to personality traits of individual sojourners, researchers have also attributed their stressful experiences to the cultural 15 differences between home and host countries (see e.g., Henderson, Milhouse, & Cao, 1993). Furnham and Bochner (1982) state that generally speaking, the more cultural distance there is between the student sojourner's home and host cultures, the more social difficulty he / she faces in the host environment. For example, Henderson, Milhouse, and Cao (1993) maintain that Chinese students often face difficulties adjusting themselves in a North American university because of the differences in the teacher-student relationship, academic expectation, and learning style between Chinese and North American academic cultures. In theory, both foreign students and host instructors are to be encouraged to become familiar with each other's culture, but in reality, students are the ones who always have to make the necessary adjustments once they decide to enrol at their host educational institution. Hull IV (1981) asserts that the more contact foreign students have with host members, the more satisfied they become with their overall sojourn experiences, and the fewer problems they face during their sojourn. However, many research findings indicate that foreign students are often unable to establish friendships with host students during their sojourn (see e.g., Cushner, 1994; Furnham & Bochner, 1982; Hull IV, 1981; Klineberg, 1981b). Even when organisers of exchange programs offer foreign students occasions to meet with host members, foreign students are not always willing to socialize with local people. Their reluctance is mainly due to their limited host language facility and sometimes their unfamiliarity with culturally different ways of handling human relations. Another factor which prevents some foreign students from developing a positive relationship with people in their host society is prejudice and racism held by host nationals (Klineberg, 1981b). Researchers point out that foreign students are often trapped in a vicious circle where a lack of a local social network prohibits them from acquiring necessary social skills in a host culture, which in turn, limits their communication with host nationals and further isolates them. Researchers who have investigated friendship patterns of foreign students have reported that they often develop three types of social networks such as 1) monocultural networks, 2) bicultural networks, and 3) multicultural networks (Bochner, McLeod, & Lin, 1977; Furnham & Bochner, 1982). The monocultural network consists of co-nationals of foreign students. The bicultural network consists of both 16 co-nationals of foreign students and members of the host culture. The multicultural network includes fellow foreign students and other individuals with various cultural backgrounds. The researchers point out that even when foreign students have opportunities to interact with host students, they tend to use the opportunities only for instrumental purposes such as getting help with their academic work or language problems. They do not attempt to engage in more intimate activities with host students. The multicultural network is used mainly for recreational purposes and overall, foreign students in their studies preferred to stay with their co-nationals. Furnham and Bochner conclude that: [t]he consequence of social skills acquisition... are clear-cut: by not performing everyday, informal activities in the presence of sympathetic English companions, these foreign students are cut off from an important source of cultural learning, (p. 193) Despite the challenges identified by many researchers, advocates of international student exchange contend that intercultural experience offered by cross-cultural education programs is the most effective way to enhance the international perspective of the young generation. One of the most significant positive outcomes of study abroad is an increase in the student's foreign language facility. For example, in his often cited study, Carroll (1967) found that time spent abroad was one of the most significant variables which contributed to the increase of his subjects' foreign language proficiency. According to Carroll, his research "...provide[s] a strong justification for a 'year abroad' as one of the experiences to be recommended for the language majors" (p. 137). Similarly, Bicknese (1974a) who examined study abroad experiences of three groups of American college students in Germany observed a great increase in foreign language proficiency among the vast majority of his subjects. Martin (1980) compared language proficiency of two groups of college level English as a Second Language (ESL) students who participated in a 14-week formal language program. Her study results showed that students who stayed with host families significantly increased their TOEFL scores compared to those who stayed in the university residence. She attributed the differences in the TOEFL scores of the two groups to the differences in their attitude and motivation toward language learning because the students made their own decisions on the types of their accommodations. Carlson, Burn, Useem, and Yachimowicz (1990) conducted a large scale 17 evaluation study of study abroad programs for American college students using a quasi-experimental design. In their project, students who went abroad for a year significantly increased their foreign language facility, especially in the areas of listening, speaking, and reading. Moreover, examining the validity of a common belief, that is that students who study abroad would make the most progress in their foreign language proficiency, thereby becoming fluent, Freed (1995) reported that students who had spent a semester in France gained more fluency in French. Specifically, she found that the students who went abroad acquired kinds of native speaker attributes which made their French sound less non-native. Apart from the increase in foreign language proficiency, advocates of study abroad programs recognise a considerable amount of personal growth in their students as a result of their educational sojourn. Examining subjective views of three groups of American college exchange students on their sojourn experiences in Germany, Bicknese (1974b) recognised the profound influences their sojourn experiences had on their personal development. He concluded that through study abroad experience: ... [students] penetrate the host culture far more deeply than they could in several years on their home campus; they experience a liberal education in its broadest sense; they begin to construct for themselves a solid foundation of knowledge and personality, which will enable them to pass judgement more objectively throughout their lives, (p.345) Hansel (1988, 1985 in Cushner, 1994) conducted a large scale survey among participants of international exchange programs around the world and found that students' learning was most facilitated in the following four areas during their sojourn abroad. These areas are: 1) understanding toward other cultures, 2) appreciation of the host culture, 3) foreign language appreciation and facility, and 4) international awareness (p. 103). Development in all of these areas seem deeply related to the positive relationship between foreign students and host nationals. Both foreign students and host members need to make efforts to understand each other while negotiating a comfortable relationship, so that the former can maximise their opportunities of study abroad. Gmelch (1997) studied the travel logs fifty-one American college students completed during a six-week stay in Innsbruck and found that extensive weekend trips around Europe made the majority of the students become more "self-confident," "adaptable," and "independent." He explained that travelling unknown countries required his students to cope with 18 unexpected problems and to make decisions for themselves without having the support of their families or other adults. Such experiences might have been stressful, but at the same time, enabled them to change their perspectives of reality and gain a new and more mature understanding. I have illustrated some challenges and rewards study abroad experience brings to student sojourners. The sudden changes in living environment requires students to make some degree of physical and psychological adjustment, especially at the outset of their sojourn. After they become accustomed to the environmental changes, student sojourners may still encounter challenges as they become involved in the social life of the host community. By overcoming these challenges, however, they will increase their functional ability in their sojourn setting and gradually expand their social networks with local people. In the present study, I attempted to explore how a group of student sojourners engaged in such an on-going cycle of encountering difficulties, coping with them, and increasing confidence by living in the new environment throughout their academic sojourn. In order to conceptualize a study abroad experience of student sojourners, I have employed selected theories of cross-cultural adaptation, adult education, multicultural education, and curriculum orientation. These theories serve as a theoretical framework for the present study. In the following section, I will first review the literature which informs students' adaptation processes in new environments and then present educational theories which describe the learning processes student sojourners engage in during study abroad. Historical Overview of Cross-Cultural Adaptation Research Culture Shock Furnham and Bochner (1986) contend that researchers in cross-cultural adaptation experiences share two assumptions about intercultural contact. A positive view of cross-cultural contact stems from an idea that cross-cultural contact will broaden "... one's perspective, promote personality growth and provide insight into the culture of origin" (p.3). It enhances mutual understanding between and among members of different cultures. Another view is based on a negative opinion that cross-cultural contact is often "... stressful and hence potentially harmful" (p.4). While Furnham and Bochner advocate the positive view of 19 the cross-cultural interaction and emphasise its enlightening aspect, they equally acknowledge that many researchers still consider cross-cultural contact as a potentially negative and stressful experience. Most investigators working on issues of intercultural contact agree that nearly all sojourners experience culture shock in the new environment (Furnham, 1987). Even those who do not professionally examine the phenomenon know that culture shock is a sudden, stressful feeling which may influence evaluations of one's own culture as well as the host culture. Culture shock is a common term used by lay people but it was initially coined by social scientists in the late 1950s. Scholars such as Oberg (1960) described the concept as a form of distress caused by a removal or distortion of familiar cultural cues with one's environment. Furnham (1987, p.45) lists six aspects of culture shock identified by Oberg: 1) strain, as a result of the effort required to make necessary psychological adaptation; 2) a sense of loss and feelings of deprivation in regard to friends, status, profession and possessions; 3) rejection by and / or rejection of members of the new culture; 4) confusion in role, role expectations, values, feelings and self-identity; 5) surprise, anxiety, even disgust and indignation after becoming aware of cultural differences; 6) feelings of impotence due to not being able to cope with the new environment. Other researchers have also presented articulate descriptions of the multifaceted nature of culture shock with the notions of "cultural fatigue" (Guthrie, 1975), "language shock" (Smalley, 1963), and "role shock" (Byrnes, 1966 in Church, 1982). "Cultural fatigue" is an exhaustion caused by the constant minute adjustments required for day-to-day function in a foreign culture. "Language shock" is a frustration resulting from one's inability to engage in verbal communication with the host nationals. "Role shock" is a stress caused by the gap between the role one is expected to play as dictated in one's cultural norms and the actual role requirements in a new culture. Most of these concepts focus on psycho-dynamic explanations of the phenomena grounded in a cross-cultural transition experience that is stressful and problematic. Unfortunately, these notions do not explain "... how or why or when different people do or do not 20 experience different aspects of culture shock" (Furnham, 1987, p.45), nor do they depict the relationship between the various facets of culture shock. Models of Cross-Cultural Adjustment The process of cross-cultural adaptation is another significant concept underlying the research on cross-cultural experience. Lysgaard (1955) first introduced "the U-curve Hypothesis" which describes the sequence of cross-cultural adjustment as a curvilinear progression plotted against time. In the U-curve model, the cross-cultural contact is viewed as a three phase process. The process starts with "... an initial state of elation and optimist, replaced by a period of frustration, depression and confusion ... and finally followed by a gradual improvement leading to feeling of confidence and satisfaction with the new society" (Furhnam & Bochner, 1986, p. 13). Other researchers and theorists seem to agree on this U-curve model of adaptation process although their models slightly differ from one another in terms of the number of stages and specific terms used in each model (Zapf, 1991). While "the U-curve Hypothesis" has a solid empirical foundation in the literature on cross-cultural adaptation, Church (1982) and Kim (1988) point out that other findings of empirical research using the U-curve model have also been inconsistent. In my view, the post-sojourn interview method Lysgaard used in his research and his data analysis method seem problematic. He formulated the U-curve model based on the examination of degrees of adjustment by subjects who he divided into three groups according to the length of their stay. Lysgaard maintained that"... adjustment seem[ed] to have been 'good' among those who stayed in America less than six months, also 'good' among those who stayed there more than eighteen months, while those who left America after a stay from six to eighteen months seem[ed] to have been 'less well' adjusted" (p.49). In his model, Lysgaard regarded the cross-cultural adjustment as "a genuine time process" in which all the sojourners eventually ought to experience the same pattern of adjustment if they spend a similar amount of time in a host culture. In short, the models of cross-cultural adaptation processes assume a linear and developmental process as the sojourner becomes familiar with the new environment. No explanations are provided in 21 these models regarding why and how people advance from one stage to the next. It is not clear what may happen if an individual does not follow the suggested order of sequence in adaptation. Would he / she encounter significant 'adjustment' problems? Would he / she become a marginalized person? These questions are not appropriately dealt with in a stage-like model of cross-cultural adaptation processes. Cultural Learning and Social Skills Acquisition Model of Adaptation While some researchers attempt to examine cross-cultural adaptation processes based on a psychological perspective, others employ a social learning framework to investigate sojourners' abilities to "fit i n " a host socio-cultural environment (Ward & Kennedy, 1994). For example, Furnham and Bochner (1986, 1982) have attempted to explain cross-cultural adaptation based on the interpersonal aspect of sojourners' experiences. Similar to early researchers of cross-cultural contact, they recognise cross-cultural experiences involve various forms and degrees of shock and surprise. Instead of attributing such strains to individual psychological structures, however, they suggest that investigators should examine social and interpersonal dimensions of cross-cultural contact because culture shock mainly occurs in the social interactions between sojourners and host nationals. In their cultural learning / social skills model, Furnham and Bochner explain sojourners' social encounter and transaction in the host culture based on theories of social and interpersonal skills. They maintain that general social interaction between individuals in a society is a mutually organised, skilled performance requiring both perceptual sensitivity and behavioural flexibility. People who have not mastered societal norms and conventions face difficulties organising or initiating interactions with others in their society. Furnham and Bochner describe such individuals as "socially inadequate individuals" whose interaction patterns often result in miscommunication and misunderstanding. They further apply this notion of "socially inadequate individuals" to explain sojourners' interaction with host nationals in a cross-cultural setting. They maintain the main task of a stranger in an unfamiliar environment is not to abandon one's cultural heritage while being completely immersed in a new environment, but to learn new sets of social and cultural skills shared by members of the host society. They also assert that the primary reason for individual cross-22 cultural incompetence is not inherent or a manifestation of unsolved psychological conflicts in his / her past. Rather, it is mainly due to "inadequate or insufficient learning." Furthermore, with the emphasis on acquisition of different skills, Furnham and Bochner's model appears to indicate that sojourners can become bicultural or even multicultural individuals without abandoning their original cultural identity. Furnham and Bochner's cultural learning model indicates an alternative perspective of the cross-cultural adaptation process. Apparently, sojourners will encounter stress and other psychological difficulties in the new environment even when they have sufficient amounts of cultural knowledge and social skills in their host society. People must have a genuine experience in another culture in order to obtain a deeper understanding of that culture. However, as Furnham and Bochner maintain, the cost of sojourning would be too much if sojourners had to give up their cultural and social backgrounds in order to function effectively in an unfamiliar circumstance. The cultural learning perspective provides sojourners with the assurance they can keep their original cultural identity after acquiring a new identity in the different environment. They need not choose one culture over another in order to maintain physical and psychological well-being. Similarly, the cultural learning / social skills perspective seems to appropriately explain how sojourners' cultural backgrounds may influence their cultural learning in the new environment. A concern of Furnham and Bochner's work is, however, that their model lacks a sound theoretical foundation. While it suggests a new way of perceiving cross-cultural experience, the model does not provide answers to such questions as what types of social skills are more important than others and what factors assist sojourners as they acquire those necessary skills. An Alternative Approach to Cross-Cultural Adaptation: Cross-Cultural Communication Theory Scholars in intercultural communication who question the traditional linear-causal approach to cross-cultural adaptation have suggested an interactive and integrative cross-cultural adaptation theory based on a communication perspective (c.f. Kim, 1995,1991, 1988; Kim & Ruben, 1988). Specifically, by expanding concepts and principles of "General Systems Theory," Kim has contributed to the development of a theoretical framework for understanding sojourners' cross-cultural contact and the role of 23 communication in effective adaptation (Martin, 1994). Three fundamental assumptions underlying Kim's cross-cultural adaptation theory are as follows: 1) Humans have an inherent drive to adapt and grow; 2) Adaptation to one's social environment occurs through communication; 3) Adaptation is a complex and dynamic process. (1995, pp. 172-173) In her theory, Kim considers communication as indispensable for the enhancement of cross-cultural adaptation, and perceives cross-cultural adaptation as a dynamic cycle of stress, adaptation, and growth based on an on-going communication process between human beings and their surroundings. Kim maintains that: Over time, the stress-adaptation-growth-dynamic plays out not in a smooth, linear progression but in a cyclic and continual "draw-back-to-leap" pattern... Each stressful experience is responded to by strangers with a "draw back," which then activates their adaptive energy to help them reorganize themselves and "leap forward". (1995, p. 178) Similar to Byrnes (1966 in Church, 1982), Guthrie (1975), Oberg (1960), and Smalley (1963), Kim admits that stress is responsible for negative psychological phenomena. However, in the "stress-adaptation-growth" model, stress is also seen as an indispensable element which induces the sojourner's cultural learning. Kim contends that people experience internal change through their adaptive responses, and as a result, they increase their coping abilities in the environment (i.e., internal growth). In terms of successful cross-cultural adaptation, Kim describes the following four dimensions of sojourners and their sojourn experiences: 1) the sojourner's adaptive predisposition, 2) the social climate of the host society, 3) the sojourner's communication network, and 4) the specific outcomes of the adaptation. The first two aspects (individual and environmental factors) influence the third, (i.e., the degree to which the sojourner develops his / her ability to effectively communicate with host members), which in turn influences the fourth, the amount of eventual adaptation (Martin, 1994). In the following account, I will first discuss the outcomes of the cross-cultural adaptation, then the individual and environmental factors, and finally the sojourner's communication network. In reviewing'Kim's theory, I have also considered Martin's work in which she revised Kim's original work in order to make it more applicable to a student 24 sojourner's adaptation experience. As a consequence, the model described in the following sections will not precisely reflect Kim's original theory of cross-cultural adaptation. Outcomes of Cross-Cultural Adaptation Process Kim suggests the following three variables - "functional fitness," "psychological health," and "intercultural identity" as indicators of successful cross-cultural adaptation process. According to Kim, "functional fitness" reflects the degree of compromises between stranger's internal structure and external demands from the host environment. Martin (1994) also describes it as "... the ability to carry out one's daily life with ease, to feel that one belongs to a particular environment" (p. 14). In theory, as sojourners acquire the ability to appropriately communicate with people in the host society, they also increase their "functional fitness" in the host environment. The increase of "functional fitness," in turn, will enable sojourners to control their behaviour in an appropriate way depending on the situation and behaviour of others. Kim claims that "functional fitness" will also increase a sojourner's mental stability or "psychological health." Kim (1988) describes a psychologically healthy individual as a person who maintains "... a balance in cognitive, affective and behavioral processes operating in harmony with respect to the challenges of the host milieu" (p. 141). In short, "psychological health" is the subjective sense of adjustment and of feeling that one is comfortable in an unfamiliar environment. A subjective evaluation of internal stability has been extensively studied in the traditional adaptation literature (Martin, 1994). Kim (1988) defines "intercultural identity" as "... the complex process of interpretive activity inside a stranger and the resultant self-conception in relation to a cultural group" (p.69). She argues that as sojourners become adapted to a new culture, their self-identification with their original culture weakens and at the same time, they come to accommodate the host culture as a part of their new cultural identity. As a consequence, sojourners develop a broader perspective on things in general. With the notion of "intercultural identity," Kim emphasises that cross-cultural adaptation is not merely about psychological health and / or the ability to efficiently function in other cultures, but also about cognitive and affective 25 growth pertaining to a sojourner's cultural identity (Martin, 1994). Since the development of "intercultural identity" occurs when a sojourner grows beyond the psychological parameters of his / her own culture, Kim admits that the process takes a long time and not all the sojourners reach this point of their adaptation processes. However, Kim suggests the acquisition of "functional fitness" and maintenance of "psychological health" in the host culture contribute to the development of "intercultural identity." The Sojourner's Adaptive Predisposition In Kim's theory, an adaptive predisposition facilitates a sojourner's communication in the host society and consequently fosters his / her adaptation process. Kim discusses this predisposition in relation to the sojourner's: 1) racial and cultural background, 2) psychological traits, and 3) preparedness for adaptive transformation in the host society. She suggests that similarity in linguistic, racial, and cultural backgrounds may foster cross-cultural adaptation processes. For example, if the sojourner is fluent in the local language and has religious, political, and economic backgrounds that are similar to those of the host national, his / her adaptation may become easier. Regarding this hypothesis, Martin (1994) warns that researchers should not solely rely on the degree of difference between the host and home culture as a predictor of perceived difficulties the sojourner will experience. She asserts that the investigators should also consider other factors such as the sojourner's motivations and expectations toward sojourning and beliefs about the host country. Kim maintains that personality attributes such as open-mindedness and resilience are also positively correlated to a higher level of adaptation because those characteristics help sojourners reduce their resistance to change and increase acceptance toward "adaptive transformation." Elaborating on this point, Martin points out that some psychological traits such as extroversion and assertiveness may impact differently depending on the sojourner's adaptation process and how much those traits are valued in the host culture. Other researchers also suggest the ability to control uncertainty and anxiety, empathy, knowledge about other cultures, and competence in the host language as contributors for the successful intercultural adaptation and the development of positive intercultural interpersonal relationships 26 (Gudykunst & Hammer, 1988; Sudweeks, Gudykunst, Ting-Toomey, & Nishida, 1990). Lastly, in Kim's theory, it is considered that pre-entry training, or previous foreign experiences often help 'strangers' set realistic expectations before departure and thus they quickly adapt to a new environment. The Social Climate of the Host Society Kim (1995) highlights three characteristics of a host society which may influence the sojourner's adaptation process. "Host receptivity" refers to "... the degree to which the environment shows openness and acceptance toward strangers" (p. 128) and "host conformity pressure" indicates "... the degree to which the environment overtly or covertly expects or demands that the strangers follow its normative cultural and communication patterns" (p. 128). Kim explains that the degrees of receptivity and conformity pressure within a host environment positively relate to the degree of the development of "host communication competence (HCC)." She contends that the greater the receptivity and conformity pressure, the more opportunities sojourners will have to participate in host interpersonal communication. Kim further maintains that the social and economic status of a sojourner's ethnic group relative to the host environment at large also affects the development of HCC. If the ethnic group maintains a relatively strong socio-economic position in the host society, newcomers will likely obtain more assistance through an ethnic communication network. Kim argues that strong social and emotional support from ethnic communities will help sojourners with their initial stage of adaptation, but it may later interfere with their integration into a larger host society by confining them in ethnic enclaves. The Sojourner's Communication Network Host communication competence (HCC). In Kim's model of cross-cultural adaptation, the most significant variable which affects adaptation is the sojourner's "host communication competence (HCC)." Kim (1995) describes HCC as an ability which "... enables strangers to develop their understanding of the way things are carried out in the host society and the way they themselves need to think, feel, and act in that environment" (p. 180). HCC involves three dimensions of competence: cognitive (knowledge), affective (attitudes and motivations), and behavioural (skills). 27 "Cognitive competence" refers to individual's internal information processing ability about the host culture and language including "... the history, institutions, worldviews, beliefs, mores, norms, and rules of interpersonal conduct, among others" (p. 181). "Affective competence" refers to the stranger's willingness to learn a new culture and make changes in his / her own cultural habits. Kim contends that affective competence facilitates cross-cultural adaptation process by enhancing emotional and motivational capacity of individuals to cope with difficulties in the host environment. "Operational competence" refers to an ability which enables people to choose appropriate combinations of verbal and non-verbal behaviours for a smooth and harmonious interaction with host nationals. Kim explains that operational competence allows "strangers" to express their cognitive and affective experiences outwardly. Kim describes that in the host society, sojourners gradually acquire HCC by giving up some aspects of their original culture (deculturation) and replacing them with the aspects of the host culture (acculturation). She maintains that deculturation occurs because the elements of one's original culture often hamper acquisition of elements of the host culture during the acculturation process. Although it depends on external factors such as the length of sojourn and sojourners' socialisation patterns in the host country, Kim predicts that many of the old cultural patterns will be replaced by the new ones in the host society as individuals adapt to the new environment. In her view, HCC is the most significant indicator of the degree of cross-cultural adaptation: the more competent "strangers" are in terms of communication with host nationals, the better they are adapted in the host society. The sojourner's interpersonal communication. Kim originally classified the sojourner's communication network in four different domains such as host interpersonal communication, host mass communication, ethnic interpersonal communication, and ethnic mass communication. Martin (1994) revised these categories to 1) communication with host members, 2) communication with sojourner's cultural group, and 3) communication with friends and families at home, appear to fit better to student sojourner's communication network. 28 Sojourners' cultural learning takes place through social communication. By interacting with host members, they obtain feedback about their communication skills as well as information about the host culture (Martin, 1994). Kim (1988) argues that communication with hosts is the most effective strategy for sojourners to increase their HCC because it offers immediate feedback and helps them become aware of "... the internalized communication systems of their original culture and acquire new culture parameters" (p. 108). Martin illustrates the nature of this communication process which reflects the stress-adaptation-growth dynamic as follows: Through this process, [sojourners] reduce stress, become more psychologically healthy, and functionally fit, and develop an increased sense of intercultural identity. The process seems cyclical - the more the sojourners adapt, the more communicatively competent they become, the more they engage in communication with hosts, and so on....Interestingly enough, [however,] it is often those sojourners who communicate the most with host culture members who experience the most difficult adaptation but also the most satisfying intercultural experience (Kealey, 1989; Rohrlich and Martin, 1991). It makes sense that sojourners who have more interaction with the host culture may experience greater difficulty at first because of the stress of learning new cultural behaviors. But these interactions then provide the support and the culture-learning that ultimately lead to better adaptation, (pp.22-23) Another type of communication network that the sojourner establishes in a host country is based on communication with a sojourner's own cultural group. Kim claims that communication with people who share the same cultural / ethnic background often provides the sojourner with natural support systems to assist him / her in coping with the initial stress and uncertainties. Members of ethnic organisations may serve as a bridge between their ethnic cultures and the mainstream culture while guiding sojourners toward successful adaptation. While Kim recognises the importance of ethnic social communication on sojourner's cross-cultural adaptation, she expresses a negative view on the long-term effect of ethnic social communication on the development of HCC. She asserts that strong ethnic ties may hamper cross-cultural adaptation, particularly if sojourners become heavily dependent on them without actively participating in host society. Furthermore, Martin (1994) supplements Kim's model of the sojourner's communication network by adding a third dimension - communication with friends and family at home. She argues that this type of communication helps long-term adaptation and especially facilitates re-entry adaptation after the sojourn. 29 For example, foreign students who have been informed about the changes that have occurred at home encounter fewer problems after they return home because the ". . . ongoing communication between [students] and friends and families at home leads to more realistic expectations on the part of both [students] and those at home and ultimately to more successful reentry" (p.24). In my experience, communication with people at home may also give sojourners opportunities to reflect on their beliefs and assumptions embedded in their cultural heritage which in turn affects their cross-cultural adaptation. Thus, I think that researchers who endeavour to holistically understand international sojourn experiences should examine this dimension of the sojourner's communication network. Educational Theories and Study Abroad Experiences Adaptation as a Learning Process: Perspective Transformation Theory Taylor (1994a, 1994b) asserts that the existing literature on cross-cultural adaptation proposes various indicators of successful sojourner adaptation, but it does not offer explanations about the process in which sojourners acquire these attributes and develop intercultural competence. In addition, he contends that while advocates of learning / growth model such as Furnham and Bochner (1986) and Kim (1988) recognise that sojourners take part in some types of learning to become interculturally competent, they do not closely examine the nature of such learning. Thus, in his attempt to explore how sojourners engage in the learning process which enables them to gain intercultural identity, Taylor (1994 b) employed Mezirow's (1991, 1990) theory of perspective transformation in adult learning as a conceptual framework for his study. Mezirow (1991) maintains that: Perspective transformation is the process of becoming critically aware of how and why our assumptions have come to constrain the way we perceive, understand, and feel about our world; changing these structures of habitual expectation to make possible a more inclusive, (hscriminating, and integrative perspective; and, finally, making choices or otherwise acting upon these new understandings, (p. 167) Mezirow sees perspective transformation induced by transformative learning as a central aim in adult education. As a way to help adult learners emancipate themselves from their distorted, inauthentic, or 30 invalid meaning schemes and perspectives, he proposes ten steps of attaining perspective transformation in adulthood. Taylor (1994a) compared Mezirow's model of perspective transformation with selected models of cross-cultural adaptation in terms of the following three dimensions; the precondition of change, process, and outcome. Regarding the precondition of change in perspective transformation, Mezirow uses the term "disorienting dilemma" to refer to such critical life events as a death of significant others, illness, divorce, and retirement. He also maintains that an eye-opening experience with a book, poem, and painting and ". . . efforts to understand a different culture with customs that contradict our own previously accepted presuppositions" (1991, p. 168) can trigger perspective transformation. In any case, according to Mezirow, disoriented dilemma involves pain and a feeling of suffering, and makes people question their values, beliefs, and sense of self Reviewing the nature of cross-cultural encounters described in the adaptation models, Taylor recognises the similarities in Mezirow's disorienting dilemma and the notion of culture shock. He contends that in intercultural studies, culture shock is often considered a precondition of change which induces the personal development of sojourners. In terms of the process dimension, Taylor compares the ten steps of transformational learning process and cross-cultural adaptation process described in the selected adaptation models. He states that: [e]ach of these [adaptation] models reflects similar process of transformation beginning with a state or pattern of alienation and initial contact, followed by a trial-and-error period of testing new habits and assumptions, and concluding with a stage of duality and interdependence within the new culture, (p.399) As for the outcome of perspective transformation and cross-cultural adaptation, Taylor maintains that the outcomes of both processes indicate a higher level of cognitive, affective, and behavioural capacities people newly acquire as a result of their change. In order to develop a learning model for cross-cultural adaptation experience, Taylor (1994b) employed Mezirow's perspective transformation model in his study of the relationship between sojourners' intercultural experiences and the development of intercultural identity. Taylor's learning model of intercultural competency consists of five factors such as 1) setting the stage, 2) cultural disequilibrium, 3) cognitive orientation (non-reflective / reflective orientation), 4) behavioural learning strategies, and 5) 31 evolving intercultural identity. Setting a stage illuminates the learner's readiness for change in the new situation. Critical events in previous experiences, personal goals and expectations, and previous intercultural contact and training are factors which affect one's learning readiness in a new intercultural experience. "Cultural disequilibrium" refers to periods in which sojourners encounter uncertainty and anxiety in the new environment and that cause physical and psychological stress. The sojourner's personal background such as race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, and religion may intensify cultural disequilibrium, but the sojourner's coping capacity, particularly his / her host language proficiency and host interpersonal skills may dilute difficulties in the new culture. According to Taylor, "cognitive orientation" refers to ". . . a cognitive process whereby participants make conscious connection between their cultural disequilibium, possible behavioral learning strategies, and necessary change towards competency" (p. 170). He classifies this process into reflective orientation and non-reflective orientation by applying Mezirow's definitions of reflection. Mezirow (1991, 1990) explains that people use "meaning schemes" and perspectives when they interpret a new experience. " A meaning scheme" consists of knowledge, beliefs, values, and feelings which people acquire and internalise in their socialisation process. " A meaning perspective "consists of a group of "meaning schemes" and influences the way in which people define, understand, and act upon their experience. Mezirow argues that people engage in either nonreflective or reflective action in interpreting their experience. In Mezirow's (1991) view, nonreflective action is not reflective because it does not involve critical reassessment of meaning schemes and / or meaning perspectives. In other words, in nonreflective action, people assimilate or transform a new experience into the old experience within the existing meaning perspectives. Reflective action involves three types of reflection - reflection on content, process, and premise. Content reflection involves reflection on ". . . what we perceive, think, feel, or act upon" (p. 107). Process reflection refers to ". . . an examination of how we perform these functions of perceiving, thinking, feeling, or acting and an assessment of our efficacy in performing them" (p. 108). Moreover, "[p]romise reflection involves our 3 2 becoming aware of why we perceive, think, feel, or act as we do and of the reasons for an consequence of our possible habits of hasty judgement, conceptual inadequacy, or error..." (p. 108). The first two types of reflection often result in elaboration, confirmation, or creation of a meaning scheme, whereas, the third reflection, induces transformation of one's existing meaning perspectives. This premise-based reflection is what Mezirow considers as "critical reflection," a central component of transformative learning. Contrary to Mezirow's theorisation, Taylor found that even non-reflective action, such as developing taken-for-granted routines, induced changes in meaning perspectives. Taylor explains that the participants' meaning structures may have been changed without their awareness as they gradually took on and continued to practice new habits which were necessary to for the life in the new environment. Taylor describes "behavioral learning strategies" as the kinds of behaviour which ". . . allow the participant access to the necessary knowledge and experiences in order to bring a balance into his or her life" (p. 171). He suggests that sojourners employ three learning strategies by taking on different roles as observer, participant, and friend. As an observer, sojourners engage in non-interactive activities such as watching other people, listening to their conversations, and reading local newspapers. As a participant, sojourners try to act like locals by doing things in the local way. According to Taylor, the primary example of becoming a participant of the host culture is to dress like locals and eat local food. By becoming a friend, sojourners engage in long-term, committed relationships with members of the host culture. Taylor maintains that this third strategy is most influential in the development of intercultural competency because it allows sojourners to develop strong personal ties with individuals from the host culture and gain tacit knowledge about the host culture. The last component of Taylor's model is "evolving intercultural identity." It refers to an on-going process in which the sojourner develops his / her new cultural identity by combining perspectives of both home and host cultures. "Evolving intercultural identity" is indicated by change in value system, increase in self-confidence, and change in worldview. Taylor (1994 b) states: [tjhese changes are reflected in how the participants see themselves and their world view due to a cumulative effect of years of working through many challenges in the host culture. These changes are also the result of interaction of the participant's behavioral learning strategies, 33 reflective and nonreflective orientation, cultural disequilibrium, and what experiences they brought to the host culture, (p. 167) Regarding the developmental aspect of his model, Taylor claims that unlike Mezirow's model, his intercultural competency model does not follow a linear progression. He maintains that in the intercultural competency model, the learning process follows an on-going cycle. Moreover, Taylor describes that people may go back and forth between two phases to survive in the host culture and manage to complete their sojourns without ever reaching the level of perspective transformation. In terms of the application of these learning models to the study of student sojourner's experience, Taylor's intercultural competency model provides valuable insights on the socio-cultural learning of the student sojourner during their study abroad. In particular, notions of cultural disequilibrium, reflective and nonreflective orientations, and behavioural learning strategies seem helpful in guiding an investigation of the on-going cycle in which the student sojourner encounters, copes with, and overcomes challenges in his / her adaptation to the host environment. However, I have recognised a few limitations of applying Taylor's model to the present study. The first limitation is the length of the sojourn. While the participants of the Taylor's study spent at least two years in the host country, students in the present study were in Canada for nine months. The second limitation is the age of the sojourner. Mezirow describes that perspective transformation usually occurs among people between thirty-five and fifty-five years of age who are considered to be mature adults. Similarly, Taylor selected his study participants among individuals who were at least twenty-five years old when they had intercultural experiences. Considering the fact that the participants of the present research are young adults whose average age is twenty years old, these students might not be ready for perspective transformation in terms of their psychological development. Moreover, the amount of intercultural experiences is probably not enough for them to develop intercultural identity as a consequence of their study abroad. Thus, based on this model and theorising, it seems unlikely that participants in the present study will be engage with critical reflection leading them to a transformation of their worldviews while they are in Canada. 34 Primary Concepts of Multicultural Education and Effective Study Abroad Programs The notion of multicultural education was originally developed as a response to the demands of ethnic minorities in culturally pluralistic societies and later expanded to promote educational equality for other socially underprivileged groups (Banks, 1997, 1995, 1992, 1989; Irwin, Rogers, Farrel, in press; Kehoe, 1994, 1984; Lynch, 1987; McCarthy, 1990). Whether it is for an ethnic group, a religious group, or a gay and lesbian group, one of the fundamental objectives multicultural education seems to aim at is the development of a positive intergroup attitude between members and non-members of a particular group. This is similarly an important goal of cross-cultural education programs which are usually implemented in a context where members of different cultural groups closely interact with one other. Some scholars of cross-cultural education have attempted to define multicultural education in a broader way to include primary goals of cross-cultural or international education (see e.g., Archer, 1994; Cushner, 1994; Hoopes & Pusch, 1979). These researchers emphasise an experiential aspect of multicultural and cross-cultural education programs. For example, Hoopes and Pusch maintain that: [multicultural education] encourages people to see different cultures as a source of learning and to respect diversity in the local, national, and international environment. ... Multicultural education refers first to building an awareness of one's own cultural heritage, and understanding that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another; secondly, to function effectively in multicultural environments. Stress is placed on experiencing cultural differences in the classroom and in the society rather than simply studying about them, (pp.4-5) Especially in a study abroad program, a positive relationship between student sojourners and locals is an essential factor to enhance students' cross-cultural adaptation as well as academic and personal development. Two fundamental concepts of multicultural education for the promotion of positive intergroup attitudes, namely 'cultural pluralism' and 'cultural learning' may offer useful insights to foster student sojourners' participation in the host socio-cultural milieus. Cultural Pluralism Cultural pluralism refers to a contesting ideology coined against the 'melting pot' ideology in American society. Assimilationists contend that ethnic minorities should replace the norms and beliefs of their own cultures with these embedded in a mainstream culture. Cultural pluralists emphasise the 35 importance of the retention of ethnic heritage among cultural / racial / ethnic minorities (Gordon, 1954). Advocates of multicultural education consider cultural pluralism as the fundamental ideology which enables them to realize their educational objectives (Davidman & Davidman, 1994). Sleeter and Grant (1994) describe cultural pluralism as "... the maintenance of diversity, a respect for differences, and the right [for an individual in a minority group] to participate actively in all aspects of society without having to give up one's unique identity" (p. 170) and argue that it is a central concept in multicultural education. Coombs (1986) also acknowledges the importance of ensuring people's rights to choose their own life-styles regardless of their cultural backgrounds. He further asserts that people need the concept of cultural pluralism not only because they live in a culturally diversified society, but also because they need to eliminate social injustice such as racism and discrimination. He maintains that: encouraging, promoting and valuing diversity is not a necessary feature of cultural pluralism. What are needed are social institutions which do not discriminate against anyone because of cultural affiliation, and the value commitment that everyone has the right to choose whatever lifestyle is preferred so long as he or she does not thereby treat others immorally or infringe upon others' rights to choose their own life styles, (p. 11) Coombs' explanation of cultural pluralism based on promotion of social justice seems to provide a useful guideline for educators to implement the concept in their practice. Since he focuses more on the elimination of social injustice than merely the celebration of cultural diversity, Coombs' cultural pluralism seems to have broader educational implications. The emphasis on the issue of social justice in Coombs' notion of cultural pluralism is also crucial because it clearly separates his notion from that of cultural relativism. Cultural relativists believe that any criticism of the practice of a culture by non-members of the group is illegitimate because there is no impartial value standard with respect to culture (Blum, 1991; Coombs, 1986). This notion may violate equal dignity and worth of human beings regardless of race because some cultural practices may interfere with the rights of members of other cultural groups or may bring privileges to certain in-group members. Although "... multicultural education [programs] should involve exposing students to and helping them to appreciate the range of values embodied in different cultures" (Blum, 1991, p.12), respecting other cultures does not mean accepting all values and practices of 36 those cultures. Thus, students should be able to criticise practices of other cultures on the basis of universal values. Conceptually, the core components of cultural pluralism are the protection of individual rights regardless of one's background and the elimination of social injustice. Even though not all cross-cultural education programs are implemented in culturally diverse social environments, these two issues have equal significance for any individual working with foreign students. For the common feature of all the cross-cultural education programs is that individuals from different cultures have frequent and sometimes close interaction in their every day lives. Through various levels of interaction, student sojourners are expected to learn about their host culture and also to actively introduce their own culture to local people. Similarly, host nationals, particularly people such as their program instructors, host families, and fellow host students, are expected to show a welcoming attitude toward strangers while offering support for them. In reality, however, student sojourners are often left by themselves with a minimum amount of close contact with host members. Sometimes the cultural difference creates a 'we / they' attitude between foreign students and host nationals which negatively affects their intergroup relations. Educators and researchers point out that the lack of intimate interaction between foreign students and local people is partly because very few foreign students have enough confidence in their host language facility and interpersonal skills to actively introduce themselves to community people, especially at the beginning of their sojourn. Another reason is because not many host nationals have a sufficient level of understanding about the foreign students' experience in the new environment, and therefore, they may not make a conscious effort to reach students. Moreover, since there is no formal program which would help local people to enhance their knowledge about student sojourners, it may be difficult for local people to learn about new members of their community. In those cases, teachers and administrators may have to make additional efforts to organise occasions for both groups to meet one other. If both foreign students and host members develop more open-minded attitudes based on the principle of Coombs' notion of cultural pluralism, they may develop more positive attitudes toward one 37 another. The notion of cultural pluralism reminds us that there are different ways of doing the same thing because different cultures carry specific beliefs and assumptions about things. By equally respecting one's own culture and other cultures, an individual can broaden his / her perspective and accept different viewpoints. Such an attitude also allows student sojourners to learn from their host culture and gradually adopt different customs and habits to make their sojourn lives more comfortable. An attitude based on the concept of cultural pluralism also enables student sojourners to avoid the pressure of assimilation into a host culture. Especially i f students perceive their home country to be inferior to their host country, they should acquire this attitude to reduce the possibility of excessive adaptation and to maintain their self-esteem during their study abroad. Since foreign students will eventually go back to their own country, they should maintain their respect for their own backgrounds while learning about their host culture. Similarly, the culturally pluralistic attitude may help foreign students deal with prejudice and discrimination demonstrated by host nationals. For example, i f the host society is not culturally diverse, host nationals tend to be more ethnocentric, and therefore, they may be more exclusive toward strangers. It goes without saying that racist people exist in any society, and foreign students may unfortunately become victims of injustice. Foreign students may be more vulnerable toward such injustice because of their outsider status. Nevertheless, i f student sojourners sustain their respect for themselves and their heritage with the attitude of cultural pluralism, they may better cope with negative attitude toward them and overcome the sense of powerlessness. Cultural Learning Cultural learning is another primary concept which has been promoted by advocates of multicultural education, especially for the development of cultural understanding and cultural competence of students in a pluralistic society. The concept of cultural learning complements the concept of cultural pluralism because the acquisition of knowledge about one's own culture and appreciation of other cultures is a prerequisite for intergroup harmony. Cultural learning usually refers to the study of primary characteristics among cultures whose process enables a learner to overcome his / her ethnocentrism while 38 coming to accept and appreciate other cultures (Hoopes, 1979). Two theories concerning human socialisation - cultural transmission theory and social identity theory - are major theoretical bases for the concept of cultural learning. Cultural transmission theory explains that in any society, human beings are born into particular social groups. As they are raised in their primary social groups, people naturally obtain membership in the groups for which they depend on for daily survival (Kim, 1988). One's social group carries its own culture and to some extent, the culture determines its members' belief systems and behavioural patterns (Banks, 1997). Children receive a strong influence from their environment and gradually learn to internalise values, beliefs, and behavioural patters shared by other group members. If individuals fail to internalise appropriate social skills in their own society, they are often stigmatised as socially inadequate individuals. In other words, one's culture is the primary 'data field' from which he / she obtains cognitive, affective, and behavioural abilities to appropriately function in their given socio-cultural environment and forms his / her basic group identity. Regarding the impacts of group membership on the formation of an individual's identity during the socialisation process, social identity theorists state that a firm sense of group identification is essential to secure one's sense of well-being (Lewin, 1984 in Phinney, 1990). Membership in a group enables individuals to gain a sense of belonging which helps them develop positive self-concepts (Tajfel & Turner, 1979 in Phinney, 1990). Similarly, Blum (1991) asserts that cultural identity is a fundamental element of an individual, and educators should help students understand their own cultures, recognising the contributions of their cultures to the larger society in which they belong. However, Tajfel (1978 in Phinney, 1990) contends that ethnic minority members might have difficulty identifying with their own group when the dominant group in their society recognises minority members merely as second-class citizens and imposes a negative social label on the group. He maintains identifying with a lower-status group in the eyes of the dominant group may prohibit members of the minority group from developing a positive self image. 39 These theories imply that when children are socialized in a group whose culture is distinctively different from what is valued in school, they will likely experience discontinuity in tliinking and behavioural patterns between what they have acquired at home and what they are taught in school (Sam, 1992; Sleeter & Grant, 1994). Because schools usually represent the dominant culture in the society, teachers may put a strong emphasis on the acquisition of their school culture thereby enabling minority students to participate in the mainstream society and even to gain upward social mobility. Proponents of multicultural education, however, argue against this assimilationist approach to the minority culture. They instead attempt to increase compatibility of the two cultures and help minority students to become competent in both cultures (Sleeter & Grant, 1994). They believe that to encourage students to cherish their cultural heritage is fundamental for the maintenance of their self-esteem. Moreover, some practitioners of multicultural education even promote the development of multiple cultural competence among all students because they believe that it is beneficial for mainstream students to be able to function properly in other cultures. They assert that by learning about another culture and becoming functionally competent in the cultural setting, students will be exposed to the world view of its members. Through such an experience, advocates of multicultural education suggest that their "... views of reality are broadened and they gain important insights into their own behavior" (Banks, 1989, p.21). Cultural transmission theory underlying the notion of cultural learning explains why and how people come to think and behave in a certain way which is accepted by members of their primary social group. Although people usually do not recognise the uniqueness of their cognitive, affective, and behavioural patterns, the particular characteristics often become obvious when they have first-hand contact with members of different cultures, especially when communication difficulties arise around feelings of discomfort. In the case of student sojourners, such realisation often occurs as a form of culture shock which makes them feel they do not have control over the new environment, and therefore, feel powerless. Although there is no set of curriculum outlines available for educators who work in cross-cultural educational programs, it seems important for teachers to inform students about the impact of one's culture 40 on the formation of the individual's cognitive and behavioural patterns in his / her socialisation process. Such discussions will probably help instructors facilitate the development of culturally pluralistic views among their students and may also be able to avoid some of the problems stemming from cultural differences in the host country. Another main principle in cultural learning is that people should learn about other cultures and increase their functional competence in those cultures while mamtaining respect for their own culture. In order to fulfil their purposes of study abroad in the limited amount of time, student sojourners must quickly identify knowledge, skills, and manners they need to engage in adequate social interaction with members of the host society. The frequent and intimate contact with host nationals is probably the most effective means to learn about elements of host interpersonal communication. Moreover, for the development of mutual understanding with host members, student sojourners ought to share their own cultural values with them and help those individuals develop cultural competence in their home culture. Through friendship and active interaction, both foreign students and local people can teach each other about their own cultures to develop sensitivity toward cultural differences and nurture their multicultural perspectives. This reciprocal relationship between foreign students and their hosts is important because it may also be able to reduce the power difference embedded in the host-sojourner relationship. One of the major criticisms of multicultural education is that multicultural education programs do not include discussions of structural inequalities (McCarthy, 1990; Sleeter & Grant, 1994). Critical theorists argue that mere prejudice reduction and attitude change of individual students are not effective strategies to resolve unequal power relations between mainstream students and disadvantaged students. They contend that multicultural education programs do not provide effective solutions to racial inequality in schooling because they do not teach students about structural inequality embedded in their every day lives. This criticism appears valid when one considers multicultural education programs for students in a culturally diverse society. Since those students have to compete for limited resources and opportunities in their own society, structural inequalities which prevent certain groups of students from participating in that 41 competition is a significant issue for those disadvantaged students. In the case of student sojourners, they do not threaten host members in terms of their economic security and social mobility because they are not members of the host country. However, they may still encounter the problem of the power differences, especially as a form of colonialism. For example, when students are from former colonies of the host country, some host nationals may demonstrate their colonialist attitude toward the students and treat them in an disrespectful way. Also when students from Eastern countries study in Western countries, attitudes of white supremacy may appear among some host members. Although it is not the purpose of cross-cultural education to provide intervention efforts for the elimination of prejudice among host nationals, it is important for all educators to ensure foreign students feel accepted and empowered. At the same time, teachers should warn their students not to acquire the colonialist viewpoint as a result of their effort to blend into the culture of the more advanced nation. The Curriculum and Study Abroad Experience I have reviewed the literature related to cross-cultural adaptation, transformational learning models, and multicultural education in order to conceptualize the student sojourner's experience during his / her study abroad. From the review, it has become apparent that through on-going interaction with the environment, sojourners gradually learn about socio-cultural norms and communication skills of the host country which enable them to live comfortably in their sojourn setting. It has also become evident that researchers need to examine both individuals' inner conditions, such as personality traits and psychological state, and the characteristics of their surrounding environment, in order to understand the nature of the student sojourners' experience. In the case of study abroad programs, the nature of the educational program determines the primary characteristics of one's sojourn context. For example, students may stay in a university residence or stay with local host families. They may attend regular classes with their fellow host students or have special courses organised for them. They may study with foreign students from other countries or with their own group. They may have a few field trips or travel by themselves on weekends. They may have 42 opportunities to participate in local community activities and expand their social networks with host nationals. All of these external conditions affect the quality and the kinds of experience they gain throughout their stay in the host country. Also student sojourners eventually develop certain feelings and attitudes toward the host country and host nationals from the particular intercultural experiences. If the educational program serves as the context of study abroad by offering basic academic and living arrangements for its participants, the researcher attempting to understand the experience of student sojourners should make efforts to gain knowledge about the sojourn context by examining the nature of the program. As a way of theorising the relationship between student sojourners' experience and the context of their study abroad, I will briefly review different notions of curriculum and then propose two notions of curriculum which seem most relevant to study abroad programs. There are many interpretations of curriculum which reflect different beliefs and assumptions about education. While traditionally the term curriculum refers to 'a regular course of study' in schools, contemporary scholars come to interpret it from broader perspectives to include other factors involved in an educational event. Instead of making futile attempts to develop a universal notion of curriculum, the contemporary experts acknowledge that "[c]urricula are not natural entities whose necessary and sufficient properties are capable of being discovered once and for all" (Eisner, 1994, p.31), and therefore, educators should create their own definitions of curriculum which best inform their own practice. Since the main purpose of the present study is to examine a wide range of learning opportunities student sojourners may encounter in adapting to their study abroad context, the conception of curriculum ought to be broad enough to encompass both formal and out-of-class educational events. Three curriculum orientations proposed by Miller and Seller (1990), namely the transmission, transaction, and transformation perspectives, provide insights for the development of conceptions of curriculum in the present study. The transmission perspective has its philosophical foundation in the empirical-analytic world view. In this position, knowledge is seen as fixed content and education is considered to be more or less equivalent to a training whose fundamental goal is to make students master 43 various school subjects and acquire appropriate cultural norms in their society. Following the behaviourist's notion of the human nature, proponents of the transmission perspective view students as passive recipients of stimuli provided in a structured learning situation (Miller & Seller, 1990). In educational programs based on the transmission perspective, teachers are considered as authorities who play a central role by taking direct control over the selection of both the study content and learning / teaching strategies and to whom students are supposed to obey. In the transaction perspective, humans are considered as active beings who maintain a mutually dependent relationship with the environment. Advocates of the transaction position perceive knowledge to be produced and reorganised through an ongoing transaction between people and the environment. The transaction position has also been strongly influenced by the developmental psychologist's view of the human development in which human life is seen as "... a process of movement toward intellectual and moral autonomy through interaction with the environment" (Miller & Seller, 1990, p.82). Proponents of the transaction perspective consider education as a process in which individuals gradually develop rational intelligence and increase the degree of autonomy they are entitled to have in their living environment (Kelly, 1989). In educational programs based on the transaction perspective, teachers help students develop logical thinking skills and complex problem-solving ability by using scientific inquiry methods rather than simple memorisation techniques to transmit subject contents. Although teachers mainly manage the content and organisation of the learning activities, they are strongly encouraged to be aware of their students' initial stage of development and their individual needs and interests when developing a curriculum. Proponents of the transformation position perceive curriculum as personal experience (Reid, 1992) and consider education as "... a process in which the learner develops consciousness about the freedom to choose and the meaning of and responsibility for one's choice" (Ornstein & Hunkins, 1988, p.31). The fundamental goal of education in this perspective is to promote self-actualisation and self-transcendence of the learner. Grumet (1976) contends that "education requires a blending of objectivity with the unique subjectivity of the person" and educational experience is constructed through "the dialogue of each person, 44 his [/ her] idiosyncratic history and genetic make-up with his[/ her] situation, its place, people, artifacts, and ideas" (p.34). Educators who support this position attempt to respect the learner's individual choices and decisions while encouraging the learner to select what he / she wants to learn and what kind of knowledge he / she wants to acquire. Study abroad programs provide student sojourners with opportunities to engage in academic learning in the host educational setting and socio-cultural learning in the new living environment. The major aspects of learning which takes place during their sojourn pertain to academic, linguistic, and socio-cultural domains. Like any other formal education, academic learning of student sojourners are structured by either the host educational institutions or the organisers of their study abroad programs. The content of such formal education in study abroad programs may include foreign language training as part of academic course work. Depending on the educational beliefs and assumptions of curricula developers and instructors of the academic component of the programs, student sojourners engage in learning activities which to some extent may reflect the three curricula orientations. For example, foreign language learning in the host classroom may require students to memorise grammatical rules and new vocabularies, which can be seen as a transmissive approach. In order to use the language skills acquired in the classroom, teachers may also encourage their students to participate in conversations with local people or at least to try to solve problems in their everyday situations by using their linguistic abilities. This type of activity is more experiential, and therefore, can be seen as a transactive approach. Similarly, in the socio-cultural learning outside of the formal educational setting, students take part in different types of learning activities which may represent some aspects of the three curricula perspectives. Through everyday life experiences, students will slowly gain socio-cultural skills and knowledge of the host environment which allow them to get actively involved in the life of the local community. Since they use everyday situations as their learning contexts, the major learning strategy may be transactive, but it could be transmissive, particularly at the beginning of their sojourn. The student sojourners often face difficulties getting used to differences in lifestyles between their home and the new 45 living context in the early stage of their sojourn. They may do things in a wrong way or fail to communicate with people around them. By taking a trial-and-error approach, they will gradually learn what kinds of social customs they should acquire in order to live comfortably or how they should behave in various social settings, so that they can interact with local people in an appropriate way. As they spend more time in the foreign environment, they may also begin to reflect on themselves and examine influences they have tacitly received from their home culture. Such an approach could be more transformational because it may give them an opportunity to reconsider who they are and what they want to accomplish as a result of their intercultural experiences. Overall, all three curricula perspectives are useful to conceptualize different aspects of learning experiences student sojourners gain through their study abroad. In my view, however, the meaning of education in the transmission orientation seems too narrow to encompass different educational values of the study abroad programs. Especially, I do not agree with the mechanistic view of education in this perspective in which schools serve as factories producing adult humans with fixed sets of necessary skills and knowledge. I also do not agree with the transmission-orientation advocates' view of the learner as a passive recipient of knowledge arranged and delivered by the teacher. The transaction perspective shares the same view of the relationship between human beings and the environment with the social leanings perspective in the cross-cultural adaptation literature. In the transaction orientation, education is considered as process in which the learner engages in various problem-solving activities by interacting with the environment. In a sense, this view reflects the on-going cycle in which student sojourners confront challenges in the new environment and overcome these challenges by reflectively or non-reflectively examining their attitudes and behaviour (Taylor, 1994a, 1994b). Student sojourners' learning opportunities go beyond classroom activities as they engage in cultural learning in their sojourn environment through everyday interaction with locals. In this point, I believe that the transaction orientation is more suitable to the conception of curriculum for study abroad programs. 46 Another significant educational aspect of study abroad is that student sojourners become aware of influences of their home culture on their attitudes and behaviour. Study abroad can provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their own culture, which is a prerequisite for personal development. Here, the transformation perspective seems helpful because it emphasises the importance of the individual students' insights into their own experiences. Since this perspective focuses on subjective understanding of the learner's experience and the consequences of their educational experiences, the transformation orientation may be helpful to conceptualize curricula of study abroad programs from the student sojourners' perspectives. Conclusion In the present study, the participants are categorised as academic sojourners who temporarily stay in the host environment with the intention of returning to their home country. Their adaptation process is defined as an individually based process of developing a stable human and social relationship with the host environment (Brody, 1970). The following statements summarise theoretical propositions from the selected literature which inform the theoretical foundation of the present research project. The research literature on study abroad (SA) indicate that the followings are the highlights of foreign students' sojourn experiences: SA-1) When foreign students have more contact with host nationals, they experience less problems during their sojourn. SA-2) Foreign students often develop three types of social networks such as a) monocultural networks, b) bicultural networks, and c) multicultural networks. SA-3) Foreign students often face difficulties developing friendships with local people because of their limited language facility and lack of host social skills. Even when they make friends with fellow host students, they use the friendships merely to get academic and / or practical help. SA-4) Racist attitudes and aUscriminatory behaviours held by members of the host country have negative influence on foreign students' adaptation process to the host environment. SA-5) Study abroad experience helps students increase, their foreign language proficiency, increase their self-confidence, and broaden their perspectives. Cross-cultural adaptation literature (CA) provides the following propositions about sojourner adaptation: 47 CA-1) When people move from one country to another, they often experience shock and stress which may cause them physical and psychological disorders. Such negative experiences can be broadly conceptualized as 'culture shock.' CA-2) Negative cross-cultural experiences at the initial stage of sojourn can be attributed to sojourners' lack of understanding about the way things are carried out in the host culture and the way its members think, feel, and act in that environment, i.e. "host communication competence" (HCC) (Kim, 1988). CA-3) Since human beings naturally strive to adapt to a given environment, sojourners eventually overcome stressful experiences and come to be able to cope with every day lives in the host society. CA-4) Face-to-face communication with host members is the most effective strategy for sojourners to develop their HCC. CA-5) Involvement in the ethnic communication network helps sojourners gain assistance at the initial stage of adaptation. Such support may be stronger if the ethnic group holds high socio-economic position in the host country. CA-6) Ongoing communication with friends and family at home facilitates the sojourner's re-entry adaptation. CA-7) High receptivity and conformity pressure of the host society may help sojourners develop host communication competence because those factors may induce sojourners' participation in activities in the host society. CA-8) Those who successfully adapt to the host culture will increase their "functional fitness" in the host environment and maintain their "psychological health" (Kim, 1988). The student sojourner's learning experience is conceptualized in the selected educational theories (ET) as follows: ET-1) During their study abroad, students continuously engage in a learning process in which they attempt to overcome "cultural disequilibrium" using reflective or nonreflective "cognitive orientation" (Taylor, 1994b). ET-2) Student sojourners use three "behavioral learning strategies" (Taylor, 1994b) to regain a balance in their cultural equilibrium. These strategies involve different roles such as observer, participant, and friend through which they gradually acquire necessary skills and habits to enjoy their lives in the host environment. ET-3) The concept of cultural pluralism may serve as an effective tool for the development of a positive intergroup relationship between student sojourners and host nationals. ET-4) The concept of cultural learning may help student sojourners to become aware of the impacts of their home culture on their taken-for-granted attitudes, behaviour, and belief systems. At the outset of the fieldwork, I used these theoretical propositions to set focus of my examination of the everyday experiences of the Japanese students during the fieldwork. In the next section, I will describe the methodological framework of this study and the research procedure including my positionality in the present study. C H A P T E R 3 : R E S E A R C H M E T H O D O L O G Y A N D P R O C E D U R E Methodological Orientation In this section, I will discuss my methodological orientation toward the present study. This discussion reflects on the on-going debate between quantitative and qualitative approach in social science methodology. I will begin with a brief explanation of a quantitative research paradigm (positivism) which has been the dominant approach used in traditional cross-cultural adaptation research. Then I will describe a qualitative research paradigm (naturalism), concentrating on symbolic interactionism and ethnographic inquiry which form the methodological foundation of the study. Moreover, I will discuss a few methodological issues around qualitative research such as the researcher's role and ethical issues embedded in the fieldwork. The Positivist Quantitative Research Paradigm The underlying assumption of the positivist perspective is that an apprehendable reality exists which is governed by natural laws (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). Believing that science can produce a body of knowledge only through the exercise of physical or statistical control of variables (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1995), positivists claim that such knowledge can be developed by continuous testing of various theories. They attempt to establish a bias-free position in relation to their research 'objects' which allows them to be objectively engaged in the inquiry of social phenomena. In other words, minimizing influences on the research process is essential to a positivist approach in order to secure reliability. A positivist approach has been the dominant method in the literature on foreign students' cross-cultural adaptation. Major methods used in the literature have been large scale surveys or structured interviews in which researchers have attempted to identify strains and problems foreign students encounter in their transitional experiences. These methods have also been used to assess changes in behavioural, psychological, and social aspects of students' adaptations to host cultures and identify key factors for the successful cross-cultural adaptation (see e.g., Klineberg & Hull, 1979; Lysgaard, 1955; Nagai, 1986). 50 These studies have contributed to the development of major theories in the field and helped researchers and practitioners to expand their knowledge about the sojourners' experience. Mansfield (1995) maintains that adaptation research based on the positivist approach lacks ". . . the explanatory capacity to disclose the contextual, constructed, and meaningful qualities of human experience" (p.49). While investigators compare the significance of the factors involved in the individual adaptation processes based on their subjects' demographic characteristics (i.e. gender, age, and nationality), they do not pay sufficient attention to the contextual information of the particular environment to which sojourners need to adapt. Since many of these projects take a short-term, cross-sectional approach examining experiences of 'subjects' from a distant position, their study results often fail to reflect how significant contextual factors of cross-cultural adaptation affect subjects' adaptation processes in their specific sojourn contexts. As a consequence, findings of traditional adaptation studies provide little relevant information about foreign students' perspectives on their cross-cultural experiences to practitioners of international education (Martin, 1994). Since instead, to gain an understanding of student sojourners' everyday experiences from their perspective, I decided not to use a quantitative approach in this study. I acknowledge existing theories and research findings of cross-cultural adaptation are based on quantitative inquiry methods, and as such, they serve as a theoretical framework for this study. While there has been an on-going debate between advocates of quantitative research and qualitative research, in my view, the essential task for researchers is to select methods of investigation which are most appropriate for the purposes of their research. The Naturalist Qualitative Research Paradigm Naturalism emphasises that investigations of the social world should be conducted in 'natural' settings rather than 'artificial' settings. It also assumes that some human experiences cannot be meaningfully converted into numbers and that the social world cannot be understood simply using a cause-effect analysis (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1995). The fundamental purpose of 'naturalistic inquiry' is to describe what happens in the setting and ". . . how inhabitants of these settings make sense of their 51 surroundings through symbols, rituals, social structures, social roles, and so forth" (Berg, 1995, p.7) without being influenced by the research arrangements. Berg maintains that, within the naturalist philosophical orientation, qualitative techniques allow: researchers to share in the understandings and perceptions of others and to explore how people structure and give meaning to their daily lives. Researchers using qualitative techniques examine how people learn about and make sense of themselves and others.... The analysis of qualitative data allows researchers to discuss in detail the various social contours and processes human beings use to create and maintain their social realities, (p.7) The naturalist qualitative research paradigm encompasses a number of different approaches to the study of human life based on slightly different methodological orientations. In the following sections, I describe symbolic interactionism and ethnographic inquiry which serve as the methodological bases of the present study. Symbolic Interactionism Symbolic interactionism is one of the traditional methodological positions in naturalistic inquiry. The term, coined by Herbert Blumer and his associates at the University of Chicago, is based on the notion of human lived experience in the hermeneutic / interpretive tradition and pragmatism (Jacob, 1988, 1987; Prus, 1996). While there are a number of variations within the symbolic interactionist framework, I will only describe the Chicago school version in which Blumer attempted to link the interpretive tradition with an ethnographic approach (Prus, 1996). Scholars advocating perspectives of hermeneutics and pragmatism argued against the behaviourist's notion of the relationship between humans and their environment based on the stimuli-response model. Instead, these scholars emphasised the interdependent nature of the relationship between individuals and society which later became the underlying assumption of symbolic interactionism (Metzer, Petras, & Reynolds, 1975; Stryker, 1980). Blumer (1969) describes the general perspective of symbolic interactionism as follows: This approach sees a human society as people engaged in living. Such living is a process of ongoing activity in which participants are developing lines of action in the multitudinous situations they encounter. They are caught up in a vast process of interaction in which they have to fit their developing actions to one another. This process of interaction consists in making indications to others of what to do and in interpreting the indications as made by others. They live in worlds of 52 objects and are guided in their orientation and action by the meaning of these objects. Their objects, including objects of themselves, are formed, sustained, weakened, and transformed in their interaction with one another. This general process should be seen, of course, in the differentiated character which it necessarily has by virtue of the fact that people cluster in different groups, belong to different associations, and occupy different positions. They accordingly approach each other differently, live in different worlds, and guide themselves by different sets of meanings. Nevertheless,... one must see the activities of the collectivity as being formed through a process of designation and interpretation, (pp.20-21) Early symbolic interactionists also argued against the mainstream research methodology of human social life because of its lack of consideration for the interpretive / interactive nature of human behaviour. For example, Dilthey, who contributed to the development of the interpretive paradigm in German social theory at the turn of the century, criticized the mainstream social scientists' tendency "... to dismiss human lived experience as subjective, epiphenomenal, or inconsequential" (Prus, 1996, p.36). He asserted that human reality is examined only through people's experiences of their social world. Blumer also criticizes mainstream social science for its lack of respect for the nature of human group life. He states that the positivist approach does not attend to the interpretive, interactive characteristics of human lived experiences and fails to enable researchers to gain first-hand knowledge about their subject matter. As a consequence, Blumer contends that the positivist approach makes only limited contributions to understanding a human society. Symbolic interactionists at the University of Chicago assume that the empirical social world consists of the everyday experience of ongoing group life (Blumer, 1969), and therefore, perceive that the main goal of inquiry is to understand the everyday life of people in various spheres of society. In order to gain first-hand knowledge about the human group life under investigation, symbolic interactionists use research techniques such as different types of observations and interviews as well as artifact collection (Blumer, 1969; Jacob, 1987; Prus, 1996). Since investigators often have substantially different biographical backgrounds from those of people they study, Blumer maintains that researchers must become familiar with what is going on in their research environment. Without such efforts, he contends that their inquiries may lead to false understandings of the group life they study since they simply reflect the investigators' stereotyped images and assumptions about the group. 53 As I have described, Chicago-style symbolic interactionists claim that human society consists of acting people, who construct the life of society through their actions and interactions. Research on human group life attempts to examine both the process of interactions between members of a group and the members' interpretations of their experiences within the group. The research methods developed by symbolic interactionists enable researchers to gain an in-depth understanding of particular areas of the social lives they study. Knowledge claims generated through such investigations are context specific rather than universal. The symbolic interactionist perspective also helps researchers realize the impact of their interactions with their research environment on the inquiry process. Through observations and interviews, investigators inevitably interact with members of their research settings. If human beings develop perspectives on their social reality through interactions with others, the researchers' involvement in the lives of the people they study will probably affect the researchers' beliefs and assumptions about these people, as well as their interpretations of the research data. In order to monitor the influences of their subjectivity, Blumer suggests researchers should constantly test their own beliefs and assumptions about the lives they are investigating throughout the inquiry process. Moreover, since human interactions are based on two-way communication, researchers may influence the perspectives of their research participants through their involvement in the settings. The personal relationships researchers develop with their research participants will affect the quality of the information they obtain through their data collection. While researchers do not have to attempt to completely distance themselves from members of the research settings, they should examine their subjective experiences in the research process, monitoring the impact their involvement has on their research participants. Although traditional symbolic interactionists do not consider the impact researchers have on the lives of their research participants in their research methodology, it is an inevitable consequence of qualitative research which entails intense interaction between researchers and research participants. Similarly, the methodology of symbolic interactionism has been criticized for its lack of consideration of people's emotional experiences (Stryker, 1981). 54 Ethnographic Inquiry Ethnographic inquiry has its historic roots in anthropology and sociology. In anthropology, ethnographic inquiry was developed from ethnology which refers to "... the prehistoric and contemporary study of ethnic classifications, languages, and living conditions of peoples" (Prus, 1996, p.104). In sociology, it has been deeply connected to the methodology of symbolic interactionism at the Chicago school of sociology, especially in terms of its emphasis on the importance of acquiring first-hand knowledge about the nature of the research site. As more social science scholars employed an ethnographic approach to the study of the human social world, the notions of ethnographic inquiry became diverse (Anderson, 1989; Vidich & Stanford, 1994; Watson-Gegeo, 1995). Some regard ethnography as a synonym for qualitative research assuming that any qualitative research, to some extent, can be considered ethnography. Others have categorized ethnography into different versions such as cultural ethnography, feminist ethnography, and critical ethnography depending on researchers' theoretical orientations and positionality to their research projects (Anderson; 1989; Jacob, 1987; Reinharz 1992). Wilson (1977) describes two underlying hypotheses of ethnographic inquiry based on the naturalistic-ecological perspective and qualitative-phenomenological perspective. Researchers advocating the naturalistic-ecological perspective recognize the influence of the environment on human behaviour and assert that human behaviour must be studied in natural settings in relation to the characteristics of the particular settings. They argue that experimental research produces its own unique environment which influences behaviour of the research subjects; whereas, "... the behavior studied [under the conditions of naturalistic inquiry] is subject to the influences of the natural setting rather than the specialized influences of research settings" (p.248). The qualitative-phenomenological perspective rejects a positivist notion of objectivity since it severely limits researchers' understanding of the perspectives of their research participants. Instead, researchers committed to the qualitative-phenomenological perspective attempt to understand how their research participants interpret their own behaviour while interpreting their behaviour from the objective scientific perspective. Moreover, phenomenologists acknowledge the influence of their 55 subjectivity on the inquiry process and attempt to minimize the influence by 'bracketing' their presumptions about their subject matter. In the broadest sense, ethnographic inquiry refers to a process in which investigators attempt to understand complex human realities from their research participants' viewpoints. Ethnographers usually hold an attitude of learning from their research participants rather than studying them (Spradley, 1979). Moreover, some social scientists regard ethnography as a type of research technique which involves: the ethnographer participating, overtly or covertly, in people's daily lives for an extended period of time, watching what happens, listening to what is said, asking questions - in fact, collecting whatever data are available to throw light on the issues that are the focus of the research. (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1995, p. 1) In her methodological discussion of ethnographic research in English as a Second Language (ESL) • classrooms, Watson-Gegeo (1995) pinpoints three principles of ethnography. As a first principle, she states that the main focus of ethnographic inquiry is a group life whose members' behaviour reflects a specific culture. While ethnographers are interested in individual variations in the group, "... most ethnographic studies are concerned with group rather than individual characteristics because cultural behavior is by definition shared behavior" (p.39). According to Watson-Gegeo, the second principle of ethnographic inquiry is that ethnographers ought to describe and explain specific aspects of cultural behaviour in relation to the entire cultural system. Regarding this point, Wolcott (1995) asserts that ethnography has traditionally required researchers "to commit to looking at, and attempting to make sense of, human social behaviour in terms of cultural patterning" (p.83), to gather details of events, and to interpret the characteristics of the culture under investigation by analyzing the data and making senses of various cultural and behavioral patterns. The third principle of ethnographic inquiry, according to Watson-Gegeo, is that ethnographers need certain theoretical frameworks to direct their inquiry processes. Since it is impossible to observe everything that is going on or to listen to every participant in a setting, ethnographers must decide which portions of everyday life to focus their attentions (Berg, 1995). Watson-Gegeo asserts that theory helps researchers develop their inquiry processes, particularly at the initial stage of data collection, by providing theoretical grounding to make decisions on what to observe. She also 56 points out that theory also provides ethnographers with theoretical grounds on which they can "... decide what kinds of evidence are likely to be significant in answering [their] research questions" (p.39) at a later stage of their inquiry. My view of the human world concurs with the naturalist qualitative paradigm. I employed a qualitative approach, specifically symbolic interactionism and ethnographic inquiry, as a methodological orientation to the present study. The qualitative approach enabled me to obtain an in-depth understanding of how the Japanese students perceived their everyday experiences in Canada and allowed an examination of the impact of the surrounding environment on their adaptation processes, mcluding interactions between the students and people involved in their sojourn lives. At the same time, my intense involvement in the field both as a researcher and a member of the setting made me realize the complexity of the nature of the researcher role in qualitative research. As an individual who has been in a foreign university studying the educational implications of study abroad, I do admit that I have certain preconceptions about cross-cultural experiences. I also believe that the preconceptions I had developed through my past experiences affected: 1) my interaction with the other study participants; 2) my non-researcher role in the field and the ways in which I interpreted the data. Moreover, my beliefs and assumptions about sojourning abroad changed as I was exposed to a variety of views the students had on their own study abroad experiences. Before describing my actual research process, I will briefly discuss issues around the fieldworker's role in qualitative research. Researcher's Biography and the Fieldwork Although an "... ethnographer's culture-personality background... is a great unknown in ethnographic research" (Agar, 1980, p.44), ethnographers cannot avoid bringing their personal baggage into their research settings (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992; Le Compte & Preissle, 1993; Naples, 1996; Reinharz, 1992; Riessman, 1987; Roberts & McGinty, 1995; Weinstein-Shr, 1990). One of the most salient factors which affects the development of the relationship between the researcher and those who are studied is the personal and social attributes of the researcher. For example, the ethnographer's race, 57 ethnicity, social class, religion, and gender sometimes limit his / her access to certain groups (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983; Shaffir, Stebbins, & Turowetz, 1980). Differences in biography may also induce certain power relations between the researcher and their study participants, which may make it hard for an ethnographer to gain sufficient trust from the people under study. On the other hand, setting members may require investigators to take on certain roles appropriate for gender or age. For example, in a culture where women play more conservative roles, female researchers are occasionally expected to take on a more submissive and conventional role instead of an out-going and assertive role. Some members of the settings also impose gender specific roles on female researchers such as daughter, mother, or nurse (Reinharz, 1992). In the case of the present study, my personal background helped me to gain access to my study site. As a result of my access negotiation, I was hired as an assistant coordinator of the study abroad program to consult with female Japanese college students about their sojourn lives. Considering my gender, age, ethnic and linguistic background, administrators of the Japanese college and the study abroad program coordinator assumed their students would feel most comfortable talking with me about their personal problems during their sojourn. They thought I could be a 'big sister' for their students. In addition, my past experience as an international student in Canada was seen as an additional asset in my active involvement in the program. My biographical background also contributed to the development of my intimate relationships with the student participants. At the beginning of my involvement, these characteristics enabled me to establish a positive rapport with the students (Christman, 1988; Le Compte & Preissle, 1993; Riessman, 1987). My personal characteristics and cultural background appeared to have eased the anxiety students experienced because my mere presence made them feel at home. My own experience of studying abroad and knowledge from the cross-cultural adaptation literature enabled me to foresee the kinds of difficulties they would face during the first few weeks of their sojourn lives, and thus I offered adequate support. Also, my position as a graduate student has helped me to empathise with 58 students in terms of their academic work. By reflecting on my own experience, I clearly understood how difficult it would be for them to work in an unfamiliar academic culture using a different language. Fieldwork Roles Hammersley and Atkinson (1983) maintain that ethnographers act like novice members of the field at the onset of their fieldwork. They watch what people do, listen to what they say, and try out things by themselves in order to become familiar with their new surroundings. The ethnographer's encounter with a new and often 'exotic' culture has been described as equivalent to the 'culture shock' experience by many anthropologists. As they get used to the setting, ethnographers take on different researcher roles to gather necessary information for their studies. Le Compte and Preissle (1992) pinpoint that until they obtain a certain role from the variety of relationships available to the group under study, researchers are not able to engage in much interaction with their research participants. The acceptance of field roles is also an essential part of the establishment of rapport and trust between ethnographers and the people they study. The typology of the researcher role suggested by Gold (1958 in Adler & Adler, 1987; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983) and Junker (1960 in Adler & Adler, 1987; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983) is a classic example of the range of involvement researchers might make during their fieldwork. They classified the researcher role into four different forms such as "complete observer," "observer as participant," "participant as observer," and "complete participant." This typology can be viewed as four different examples of involvement researchers make during their fieldwork (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). However, some scholars have pointed out that fieldworkers select different forms of involvement at different times and situations in the course of their particular inquiry (Adler & Adler, 1987; Emerson, 1983). In terms of the 'fluidity' of the researcher role in the field, Naples (1996) contends that: rather than one "insider" or "outsider" position, we all begin our work with different relationships to shifting aspects of social life and to particular knowers in the community, and this contributes to the numerous dimensions through which we can relate to residents in various communities. "Outsiderness" and "insiderness" are not fixed or static positions, rather they are ever-shifting and permeable social locations... that are differently experienced and expressed by community members. (pp.83-84) 59 As they immerse themselves in the research setting, ethnographers become inextricably tied to 'the lived experience' in their research, and often will become a part of the investigation. They do not interact with the people they study as distant outsiders, but instead, take on different membership roles in the group which enable them to better understand an insider perspective. Rather than remaining in one specific role, ethnographers often adopt a variety of roles over the course of their data collection in accordance with the changing conditions of the research environment as well as their personal and professional preferences (Adler & Adler, 1987). By consciously altering their distance with the other members in the field, researchers are able to maintain both familiarity and strangeness, which, in turn, allows them to examine the insider's view gained through intensive involvement. Some social scientists also consider the deliberate control of the researcher's position to be fundamental to avoid over rapport during fieldwork (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). During my fieldwork, I had difficulties maintaining the two roles I had assumed at the onset of the study. It was not appropriate for me to behave as a researcher at the beginning of my fieldwork because the students were not ready to participate in the study. Thus, I decided to put aside my researcher role and concentrated on fulfilling my role as a member of the program. As I developed personal relationships with individual students, I began to take on a few more roles such as an academic tutor and sympathetic friend. In some situations, I was simultaneously taking on more than one role depending on the purpose of the interaction and expectations of the individuals with whom I was interacting. I often combined my researcher self with other roles I played in the field to gain a deeper understanding of what was going on in students' lives. My view on the field roles concurs with the one suggested by Adler and Adler (1987). I took on all the four types of Gold's (1958 in Adler & Adler, 1987; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983) and Junker's (1960 in Adler & Adler, 1987; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983) researcher roles at one time or another, experiencing the fluidity of my status in the everyday lives of the student participants. 60 Researcher's Subjectivity: the Notion of Reflexivitv Recently, the traditional ethnographers' commitment to naturalism has been questioned by many critical theorists and feminist scholars (Adler & Adler, 1987; Atkinson & Hammersley, 1994; Vidich & Lyman, 1994). For example, critical theorists argue that traditional ethnographers are not different from quantitative researchers in terms of their position to their research 'objects' and their research contexts, because they attempt to objectively describe what is happening in the field by marginalizing themselves in the situation. Existentialists and ethnomethodologists also maintain that the attitude underlying traditional field research implies the dichotomization of subject-object relations which is "... the belief that the subject (knower) and the object (known) can be effectively separated by methodologically scientific procedures" (Adler & Adler, 1987, p.31). Moreover, by criticising the traditional ethnographers' absolutist attitude toward their research environment, the contemporary scholars argue that"... an absolute separation of the knowing subject and the object of knowledge is impossible" because "[a]U human knowledge is fundamentally influenced by the subjective character of the human beings who collect and interpret it" (Adler & Adler, 1987, p.31). They further contend that the approach taken by traditional fieldworkers is not even legitimate because all researchers, including traditional ethnographers, are part of the social world that they study and they cannot separate their existence from the rest of the world in order to study it. Therefore, attempts to eliminate the effects of the ethnographer in the traditional fieldwork are futile. Instead, ethnographers are encouraged to use their own experiences as part of their data and to probe how their world view influences their inquiry activities and is influenced by their research environment (Christman, 1988; Collins, 1986; Glesne & Peshkin, 1992; Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983; Le Compte & Preissle, 1993; Naples, 1996; Reinharz, 1992; Riessman, 1987; Roberts & McGinty, 1995; Weinstein-Shr, 1990; Zajano & Edelsberg, 1993). This realization of the researchers' influence on their research contexts reflects the notion of reflexivity. It refers to the researcher's recognition of"... their socio-historical locations, including the values and interests that these locations confer upon them" (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1995, p. 16). 61 Anderson (1989) describes that reflexivity involves a two-fold process; self-reflection on the researcher's own predisposition and "... on the dialectical relationship between structural / historical forces and human agency" (p.254). As a consequence, in reflexively oriented research, researchers become both the instrument and object of their investigations (Segal, 1990). A systematic examination of the researcher's own experiences in relation to the research environment makes the research project personally meaningful and helps ethnographers make connections between their extra-social scientific concerns and the codified concerns of social science (Lofland & Lofland, 1984). In short, the notion of reflexivity not only provides social scientists with a valid source of knowledge and insight but also makes the entire inquiry process humane. Any negligence of reflexivity in traditional ethnography, especially when researchers' neglect to examine their own subjectivity is a valid criticism. As naturalists claim, if social worlds are constructed by individuals based on their interpretations, traditional ethnographers' accounts of various social realities are not true representations of the realities but merely an interpretation of each of these realities. If an ethnographic account is merely a researcher's subjective interpretation of the phenomenon, then what would be the value of knowledge produced by such an account (Hammersley, 1992)? The kind of knowledge produced through ethnographic inquiry should be based on a shared understanding of the phenomena between researchers and their study participants. Reflexive thinking of one's own subjectivity allows ethnographers to recognize their own 'biases' and to turn their attention to things they usually take for granted (Roberts & McGinty, 1995). From the beginning of my research, I was aware of certain assumptions I had about the cross-cultural experiences of foreign students. My particular assumptions made me pay more attention to certain things about the students' sojourn lives while preventing me from noticing other things. I implicitly used my subjective experience as a basis of comparison when examining the students' perspectives of their sojourn lives (see also Le Compte & Preissle, 1992). Using a reflexive journal, I attempted to examine influences of my subjectivity on various aspects of my research experience, especially my relationships 62 with student participants. Such a systematic examination of my own presumptions about my research project helped me to at least recognize the biases I brought into the field. As participants in their own research, I believe that it is important for ethnographers to critically and reflexively investigate their subjectivity, the different roles they take on in the field, and their impact on the inquiry process (Emerson, 1983). Procedure of the Study In ethnographic research, researchers become primary instruments of their data collection. They use all of their senses to gain an understanding of what is going on in their research sites and how setting members perceive their everyday experiences. During fieldwork, ethnographers are required to be flexible and creative because the process of fieldwork is not as straightforward and predictable as in laboratory experiments. Researchers often encounter unexpected requests from setting members or special events in the community which make them change their research schedules. Since they rely on participants' willingness to share their information as research data, investigators sometimes face difficulties in negotiating their research with people they study. In the following section, I will describe the process of my inquiry in conducting the present study. Unlike quantitative studies, the procedure of qualitative research varies depending on the biography of the researcher and the characteristics of his / her specific research site, including the people participating in the study. At the outset of the present study, for example, I was asked to take on a particular role in order to conduct my study. Such a special condition of my role in the field affected not only the entire process of my research but also the ways in which I developed my relationships with other members of the setting. Moreover, it influenced the quality of data I gained through my data collection. While I do not know what it would have been like if I had taken on a less 'active membership' role in my study, I must at least explain how the evolution of the particular research process led me to specific research findings. 63 The Nature of the Research Setting Physical Environment of the Research Setting The study was conducted at an International Learning Centre (ILC)1, an ecumenical theological school located in a Canadian university fictionally called Western Canada University (WCU). ILC is an independent institution and its buildings contain a cafeteria, library, worship chapel, administrative offices, classrooms, and dormitories for both single and married students. The Blue building is the oldest and tallest building in ILC which accommodates administrators' offices, faculty members' offices, classrooms, a student lounge, board room, conference room, as well as the dormitory and apartment / pod accommodations. The classrooms are located in the basement and on the first floor, with aclministrative offices on the first and second floors. Rooms in the basement and the first floor are used for apartment / pod accommodation for married students, while rooms on the second, third, and fourth floors are used as the room and board dormitory for single students. The board room is located on the fifth floor and has a splendid view of the city. The administrative office for the Pacific Rim Education Abroad (PREA) program and the program coordinator's office are also located in the Blue building. Two classrooms in this building are regularly booked for PREA's academic courses. The Yellow building is located about fifty meters west of the Blue building and consists of three parts. Two wings of the Yellow building operate as a room and board dormitory, and the cafeteria, library, chapel, and reading room are located in the central area between the wings. These three parts of the buildings are connected by corridors. Two wings are four-storied (a basement and three stories on the ground level) and the rest of the building is two-storied (a basement and the first floor). The cafeteria, library, chapel, and reading room are all located on the first floor of the central area of the Yellow building. Offices for the dormitory supervisor and maintenance staff are also located on the first floor of the central area of the building. When I conducted this study in 1996, the PREA used the reading room as a classroom for some of its academic courses. PREA students, as well as other students in the dormitory 1 All the names of the institutions are pseudonyms. 64 use, the reading room to study at night. The Red building, located north of the Blue building, contains residences for ILC students and their families. Although PREA students are not registered students of WCU where ILC is located, students are allowed to use most of the facilities on campus such as the recreation centre and libraries. All the main facilities on campus, including the book store, grocery store, and bus loop are located within walking distance of ILC. During the orientation at the beginning of the program, PREA students participate in a campus walking tour to become familiar with campus facilities. Students usually take public buses from the bus loop to downtown or other parts of the city when they want access to non-university activities or facilities. Description of "Pacific Rim Education Abroad (PREA)" Program PREA is a nine-month study abroad program. The academic year starts in September and ends in the middle of May. It is organised and supported by a private two-year women's college in Japan called Yamato college and ILC in Canada. The two institutions are both Christian organisations and became sister schools in the fall of 1992 to enhance the academic and cultural exchange of their students as well as faculty members. A first attempt at cross-cultural educational exchange, the PREA began in 1994 to provide a well-rounded education to young female Japanese students, encouraging them to learn about various aspects of Canadian society through firsthand experience. The following are the three main components of the PREA which have become a fundamental part of the participants' sojourn experiences: academic course work, extra curricular activities, and dormitory life. Academic Course Work. All the courses in the PREA are organised in accordance with the curricula used at Yamato college in Japan, so that the credits students obtain during their study abroad will later be transferred and added to their college transcripts. In other words, PREA students do not attend regular courses offered at ILC or WCU during their sojourn: they engage in specially-designed academic work within a unique timetable. PREA students participating in the study took eight courses offered once a week throughout the program, taught in English by five non-Japanese instructors. The courses were: 65 English Conversation, Composition, Contemporary English, Canadian History, Comparative Cultural Seminar, Preparation for Community Worship2, Women's Study, and Bible. Instructors of the three English courses attempt to help students enhance their communication skills by improving their listening, speaking, writing, and reading ability. They use textbooks and multimedia resources to expose students to different types of English language used in North America. In the Canadian History course, students learn about the history of Canada from pre-historic age to the present. The instructor uses text books and other visual aids to help students understand social, political, economic, and historical relationships between groups of people involved in the creation of the nation. In addition to participating in class discussions, students are asked to complete their group projects about topics related to significant events in Canadian history. The students are also asked to keep journals about their experiences related to cultural differences between Canada and Japan. In the Comparative Cultural Seminar, instructors try to help students acquire basic concepts underlying cross-cultural study, allowing them opportunities to examine both the host culture and their own culture. Students are asked to conduct research on social and cultural issues in Canada such as immigration, health care, forestry, and ice hockey in preparation for thirty to forty-five minute oral presentations in class. Instructors of this course encourage students to examine cultural and social issues at the macro level instead of merely reflecting on their personal experiences as cultural and social beings. The Preparation for Community Worship and Bible courses cover fundamental knowledge about Christian philosophy and attempt to introduce students to Christian values in a Western society. In the Preparation for Community Worship course, students read passages of the Bible to learn about liturgy and terminology, practice hymns, and attend the community worship at ILC. The instructor also has students visit different religious organisations in an effort to conduct a comparative study on Christianity and other religions. In the Women's Study course, students learn fundamental issues in Western feminism and examine similarities and differences in the experiences and values of women around the world. In this course, the instructor requires students to interact with 2 This course was taught as part of the Comparative Cultural Seminar. 66 people, especially women, outside of the program. Through such assignments, they will gain not only academic knowledge but also basic social and communication skills in an English-speaking culture. Moreover, students are expected to maintain journals to reflect on their experiences as women living in Canada or in Japan. While the PREA contains a few language courses, it does not operate as an English as a Second Language (ESL) program, and therefore, students are encouraged to improve their English ability on their own. Since there are no strict selection criteria regarding the applicant's English proficiency, there is usually a wide range of students' English ability. Most students are overwhelmed by the work load they are expected to complete in the PREA, which sometimes causes physical and psychological stress during their sojourn. Thus, the instructors are expected to organise their course work by monitoring students' progress in the English language. The detailed time schedules of the program are included in Appendix (A). Extra-Curricular Activity. In addition to academic work, the PREA offers students opportunities to immerse themselves in a Canadian lifestyle. At the beginning of September right after students arrive, the PREA offers students a two-week orientation session to help them settle into their new environment and become familiar with their surroundings. The orientation session is also used to break the ice between instructors and students and encourages students to get to know each other in their own group. At the end of September, PREA program coordinators and the assistant coordinator take students on their first field trip to a resort area located near a historical site several hours from ILC. During this trip, students visit the historical site, try some fishing and other recreational activities, and enjoy the natural environment found in Canada, which most have never experienced. In October and November, the coordinator and administrator of the program organise social functions for students at their homes. Such opportunities help both staff members and students to get to know each other and develop a positive working relationship in the program. Around this time, students also begin to do volunteer secretarial work 67 at the administration office. All the volunteer work students do in the program is kept on record and added to their transcripts upon completion of the program. During the winter vacation when the dormitory is closed, the PREA offers individual students a two-week homestay plan with local host families. The main purpose of this winter homestay program is to provide students with an opportunity to experience off-campus life, participate in holiday activities organised by local communities, and learn about family life in Canada. Every year, the program coordinator contacts three local churches which have been involved in the PREA program to recruit volunteer families. He conducts brief telephone interviews with the volunteer families to select appropriate families for the PREA students at which time he tries to match individual students with families based on the needs and expectations of both parties. This homestay program is considered an English practicum and students are required to complete a report about their host families and homestay experience while they stay with the families. In addition, they are expected to give an oral presentation about their winter vacation at the beginning of the second term. In January, the PREA offers students a second field trip to the capital city of the province. In this trip, the instructor teaching the Canadian History course takes the students to the provincial Legislature and museum for mini-lectures on significant events in Canadian history. Another main purpose of the trip is to celebrate a traditional holiday in Japan. The trip is usually organised around January 15th when people celebrate "Coming-of-Age Day3" in Japan. Since most students who participate in the PREA turn twenty while they are in Canada and cannot participate in the "Coming-of- Age Day" ceremony held in their hometown, the instructors organise a small celebration for the students during the trip. In addition to the second field trip, in January PREA students go on a one-day ski trip and take part in volunteer activities at a local community organisation. They visit one of the local Japanese Canadian community organisations and offer their help for in programs for its seniors. This volunteer activity aims to give PREA students an 3 Coming-of-Age Day on January 15 is one of the national holidays in Japan. Municipal governments across the country hold ceremonies for individuals who have become twenty years old to celebrate the beginning of their adulthood. 6 8 opportunity to interact with Canadians of Japanese ethnic origin who live outside of Japanese society. After participating in this volunteer activity, students are expected to write about their volunteer experiences in their contemporary English course. Toward the end of the program, the PREA offers students a one-day workshop on preparing to return to Japan. In this workshop, students are encouraged to reflect on their experiences in Canada and share their anxieties and concerns upon returning to Japan. PREA instructors serve as resource persons for students and provide suggestions and advice to ease the transition to life in Japan. After the completion of the PREA, students participate in a two-week study tour across Canada. During this trip, they visit six major cities in Canada and learn about the history of each city and experience regional differences of the country. Since they study about Canadian history and culture throughout the program, this trip is considered to be an opportunity for them to revisit what they learn during their course work. In addition to participating in these extra curricular activities, students are strongly encouraged to attend local Christian churches and become familiar with members of the community. The PREA has three local churches (Church A, Church B, and Church C) which are willing to take students as members, getting them involved in their choir groups and social activities. Some of the PREA instructors consider this association with local churches a good opportunity for students to enhance their knowledge about Christianity, and in turn, use church members as resource persons for the students' assignment. From the perspective of the PREA program coordinator, students benefit by getting involved in the outside community while developing a social network with local Canadians. Dormitory Life. Throughout their sojourn, PREA students are expected to stay in one of the three room and board dormitories located in ILC. There are approximately 140 students living in the three room and board dormitories with the majority being undergraduate students from WCU. Although ILC is an independent institution on campus, it provides accommodation for WCU students as part of their cooperative agreement with the university (Residence Manual, 1996, p.5). 69 Each dormitory has a female student floor and a male student floor and on each floor there is a student who serves as dormitory advisor. Dormitory advisors are expected to work with the chaplain and supervisor of the dormitory and are responsible for the welfare and behaviour of other students on their floor. They hold floor meetings and occasionally organize social events with other students to develop a sense of community on the floor. Since most PREA students have very limited communication skills at the beginning of their sojourn, the presence of dormitory advisors is vital to them. Dormitory advisors provide the necessary support for PREA students to get used to dormitory life and assist in familiarizing students with others on their floor. Most students in the room and board dormitory live in single rooms while some share double rooms. PREA students usually stay in single rooms and the year in which this study was conducted was no exception. Students on each floor share a public telephone, refrigerator, microwave oven, and bathrooms. Although the size and arrangement of the rooms are slightly different depending on the buildings, the basic furnishings are supplied for each room, including a bed, a desk, closet, and / or a drawer. All students have meals at the cafeteria located in the Yellow building: meal times and menus are posted in front of the cafeteria. The types of food served at the cafeteria are typical North American cafeteria food such as pasta, burger, and pizza. Students are allowed to have salad, soup, dessert, and two choices of drinks together with their main dish. There are several rows of rectangular-shaped tables in the dining area and there is no assigned seating for students. Most students usually have meals with their friends or with other students on their floor. Participants of the Study The main participants of the study were fifteen second-year students of Yamato college who enrolled in the PREA in 1996. Their average age was 20 years old. They majored in either English Literature, Japanese Literature, International Relations, or Food Science. Since all the students agreed to participate in this study and volunteer to take part in individual interview sessions, I selected six students based on their majors in the college and locations of their rooms in the dormitory. I selected three students 70 from the English Literature departments and one student from each of three other departments.4 Since PREA students were randomly assigned to rooms on four different floors of the two dormitory buildings in ILC, I chose at least one student from each floor for individual interview sessions. As a result, Yuki, Kana, Sayo, Tae, Nami, and Hana5 participated in once-a-month interviews during my data collection. Yuki, Sayo, and Hana were from the English Literature department. Kana majored in Food Science, Tae majored in International Relations, and Nami majored in Japanese Literature. Yuki, Tae and two other Japanese students, B-san and H-san,6 stayed on the third floor of the east wing of the Yellow building (3EY). Hana and three other Japanese students, D-san, F-san, and G-san, lived on the second floor of the east wing of the Yellow building (2EY). Sayo and two other Japanese students, C-san and E-san, lived on the third floor of the west wing of the Yellow building (3WY). The rest of the students, Kana, Nami, A-san and I-san, stayed on the third floor of the Blue building (3B). This study attempted to examine the everyday cultural learning experiences of the fifteen student sojourners. It is important for readers to become familiar with the students, especially, the six students who became key informants. Each student had a unique way of adapting to the new socio-cultural setting depending on her biography. Individual students' sojourn experiences were also strongly affected by the group dynamics created by the combination of the fifteen different characters. Before illustrating their lives in Canada, therefore, I will first introduce these six students, Yuki, Kana, Sayo, Tae, Nami, and Hana, and then briefly describe the profiles of the other nine students who directly or indirectly affected the sojourn experiences of the six students. 4 The total number of the students from each of the four departments was: seven students from the English Literature department, three from the Food Science department, three from the International Relations department, and two from the Japanese Literature department. 5A11 the names used in this study are pseudonyms. 6 The nine students who did not take part in individual interview sessions were alphabetically named as A-san, B-san,.... I-san. I did not give these students usual Japanese female names to assist readers to identify the six main informants of the study. Igave different types of names to these nine students only to help readers easily identify the key informants of the study among the fifteen participants. The word, '-san' in Japanese functions as 'Miss' in English. 7 1 Yuki was a gentle and kind person who always smiled. She was rather quiet at the beginning of the program when I first met her. She participated in the PREA in order to become fluent in English. She thought it would be 'cool' to be able to speak English like a native speaker (Int. 6-1-18). Although this was the first time for her to leave Japan and her family, she did not have much anxiety prior to her sojourn. According to Yuki, her mother was very supportive about her participation in the program and encouraged her to come to Canada (Int. 6-1-1). Another reason why Yuki was not nervous about her sojourn was that her best friend, E-san, accompanied her. They had been close friends since they entered the college, and had together decided to come to Canada. Throughout the program, but especially at the beginning, they were always together. Their close friendship made me think of them almost as twin sisters. However, both of them were willing to socialize with others, so their strong bond did not have a negative impact on their friendships with the other students in the group. Kana was rather a quiet and serious student. She adored clothes and goods designed by a famous Japanese fashion designer and brought many fancy clothes and cute accessories from Japan. Kana's collection of the brand goods impressed many of the Canadian students on her floor. Kana was also good at conducting a Japanese tea ceremony which she occasionally demonstrated during her sojourn. She participated in the PREA because she wanted to study abroad, and because she wanted to be away from home and some family problems. She also wanted to have a challenging experience before entering a company as a full-time employee for she anticipated that office work life would be strenuous compared to student life (RJ. 15/10/96). When she decided to apply for the PREA Kana thought she would not be selected as a participant. Describing the selection process, she told me how lucky she was to be able to come to Canada because she thought her English was very poor (Int. 4-1-1). During the preparation period prior to her departure, she did not have much anxiety about her sojourn. Knowing the program coordinator and having some friends in the group, she confidently thought she could manage her sojourn life without much difficulty (Int. 4-1-3). After coming to Canada and starting her academic work, however, Kana quickly realized the gap between her abilities and her instructors' expectations. In the early days of her 72 sojourn, she also had difficulties associating with male students in the dormitory because she had gone to a private girls' school after elementary school and was not used to socializing with male students. She was scared of some of the male students who were far taller than she. As she spent more time in the dormitory and got to know these students personally, however, Kana gradually became good friends with them (Int. 4-1-16, Int. 4-4-12/13). Sayo was the quietest woman among the fifteen students but she was a mature, hard-working person. She always wore nice make-up and dressed well. She was not the kind of person who would reveal herself to others easily, so it took me a while before I could make her feel comfortable enough to talk with me about her experiences. Her wish to learn English in a foreign country led her to participate in the PREA. In Japan, she did not enjoy her college life and wanted to transfer to a four-year university. At that time, she heard about the PREA and decided to study in Canada for a year instead of going to a Japanese university for two more years (Int. 1-1-1). In addition to her strong motivation to come to Canada, her previous experience of living in the college residence in Japan helped her get used to the life in the dormitory in Canada. Sayo continued to show her strong will to improve her English throughout her sojourn. She was always very critical about her progress in English and worked hard throughout the program. During the interviews, she sometimes asked me how she could improve her English or showed me her self-made vocabulary books, which indicated the effort she was making to improve her English skills. Tae was an outgoing person who expressed herself very well during the interviews. She was very proud of her family and friends and often talked to me about them. She also cared a lot about the other Japanese students in the program and often knew what was going on in the whole group. Tae wanted to come to Canada because she wanted to change her lifestyle. While she was making a lot of money through her part-time jobs, she was not completely satisfied with her college life in Japan. She said she worked hard to make money and had a lot of fun socializing with her friends, but something was missing in her life (Int. 5-1-1). Applying for the PREA seemed like a special opportunity in her life. Moreover, she thought 73 traveling to and experiencing Canada would broaden her perspective. Through her previous experiences of meeting with foreigners in her high school, Tae gradually developed her interest in learning from people from different countries, especially their cultural backgrounds and different ways of thinking. Recalling her feeling upon her departure to Canada, Tae mentioned that her curiosity toward an unknown culture surpassed any concern she might have had about her life abroad (Int. 5-1-8). Nami was an easy-going and cheerful person. From the beginning of our interview session, she was interested in talking with me because according to her, she enjoyed being asked questions (Int. 3-5-14). Also, being interviewed facilitated her self-reflection (Int. 3-6-16). She was curious to see how she would 'change' during her sojourn and was indeed planning to use her sojourn experience as a topic for her college graduation essay. Although I happened to select her as one of my key informants, in a sense, her active participation in my study gave her an opportunity to systematically reflect on her sojourn life and gather materials for her own project (Int. 3-4-25). Nami had dreamed of participating in PREA. She was eager to change herself through her study abroad experience because she had heard that overseas experiences changed peoples' perspectives (Int. 3-1-1). When she told her parents about her plan to come to Canada, they, especially her father, were unsupportive due to financial concerns. After some discussions and negotiations with Nami, however, they eventually allowed her to take part in the program (Int. 3-1-1/2). She thought that the fact that her college was involved in the PREA probably made her parents less worried about their daughter's well-being during her study abroad (Int. 3-5-20). In coming to Canada, Nami did not know anyone in the program and was initially more concerned about her relationships with the other Japanese students during her sojourn than her cross-cultural adjustment (Int. 3-1-3). Hana was a very mature and independent student who knew what she wanted to accomplish in the program. She appeared to be very feminine, and quiet and had a strong desire to fulfill her objectives. Hana had wanted to go to a foreign university since her high school days but her parents had convinced her to go to a Japanese college and study abroad later if she wanted. When she entered Yamato college, she already knew about its study abroad program and quickly made up her mind to apply for the PREA (Int. 2-74 1-1). The main purpose of her study abroad was to improve her English and have a good time before starting her career (Int. 2-1-16). Hana was a big fan of "Anne of Green Gables" and looked forward to visiting Prince Edward Island which she considered a highlight of her sojourn. As her father requested in exchange for his permission to send her to Canada, Hana worked hard to acquire basic English ability to prepare for her study abroad. For example, she had passed the second level of the English proficiency exam sponsored by the Ministry of Education in Japan, which implied that her language ability was already fairly high at the outset of her sojourn. While she was not worried much about her language ability, Hana was extremely concerned with her adjustment to the new environment ranging from Canadian food to relationships with Canadian students (Int. 2-1-4). Fortunately, her anxiety gradually disappeared once she settled down in her sojourn setting. While these six young women served as the key informants in this study, nine other students in the PREA in 1996 also played important roles in constructing the collective experience of the participants of the program. While they were all from the same college in Japan, each had unique personal characteristics and specific reasons for and expectations toward her study abroad. It was the combination of these fifteen individuals which created unique group dynamics in the program. Thus, I will briefly describe profiles of the nine students, especially their personality traits and attitudes during their sojourn. A-san, a student from the English Literature department, was a person with a very strong will to improve her English. She also wanted to gain an experience of living in a country where she had to communicate with people in English in order to become a better English teacher in the future. At the beginning of her sojourn, she was very self-confident in her language ability and felt she was different from the other Japanese students in terms of expectations and attitudes toward academic work. She was often irritated by some of the other Japanese students' easy-going attitudes because she was ready to work hard to attain her personal goals. While she managed to get along with the other Japanese students on 3B, A-san continued to have difficulties understanding some of the Japanese students and wished not to be bothered by them. She seemed to maintain fairly good relationships with the other students in the program, 75 but she later admitted that being in the group and dealing with so many different personalities was one of her biggest challenges throughout her sojourn (Int. 18/05/97). Since she had a very positive relationship with her family, losing their direct support and affection during her sojourn was also tough for her, especially during the first month in Canada. B-san was an International Relations student who had been in Canada a few times as a foreign student. Her language proficiency was the highest in the group and many of the other students admired her English ability. While she was well aware of the difference between her and the other students and seemed very proud of herself, B-san was bothered by some of the Japanese students' attitude toward her. She thought they did not recognize how much effort she had made to develop her English communication ability before reaching her current level. Unlike the majority of the other students in the program, B-san was not very interested in socializing with other Japanese students. In fact, B-san was the only student in the group who quickly established her social network with Canadian students on her floor at the beginning of the program. Her strong wish to develop her friendships outside of the Japanese group occasionally caused her to become involved in interpersonal conflicts with some of the Japanese students in the program. C-san decided to come to Canada to find a purpose in her life, but once in Canada, she had the most difficulties getting used to the new life. She often missed 'home' during her sojourn, and was the least willing student to speak English although she wanted to improve her English communication skills while making Canadian friends. Majoring in Japanese Literature, she loved to read Japanese novels. She often went to one of the campus libraries to borrow Japanese books, spending most of her free time either reading or chatting with other Japanese students. D-san was an English Literature student who was very quiet at the beginning of the program. As she got to know the other Japanese students, however, she gradually began to reveal her cheerful and talkative nature and became one of the funniest students in the program who always made others laugh. The main reason for her to come to Canada was to study English. Although she also wished to develop close friendships with Canadian students, she kept having difficulties overcoming her shyness and 76 nervousness toward Canadian students until the end of her sojourn. Because of her inability to actively make friends with Canadians on her floor, she thought her life in the dormitory was rather boring (Int. 20/03/97). She socialized mainly with the other Japanese students, spending a lot of time together with Hana who was also living on 2EY. E-san was another English Literature student who was always friendly and kind to others. She seemed to be the most popular and attractive student in the group and was well-liked by both students and instructors in the program. The main reason for her participation in the program was to improve her English so that she could take her parents on overseas trips in the future. With her friendly attitude, she developed her friendships with Canadian students on her floor, which helped her improve her English communication ability. E-san also liked playing sports and occasionally worked out at the university gym with a few other Japanese students. F-san, a student from the Food Science department, participated in the PREA because she wanted to improve her English and have a studying abroad experience. She was one of the few students who had previous experience in living abroad. She was a mature and independent person and often helped the other students whenever they had emotionally difficult times. For example, she shared her room with C-san when C-san was suffering from severe homesickness for the first few days in Canada. While F-san had expected some challenges pertaining to academic work in the program, differences in regular food and customs in the dormitory surprised her at the beginning of her sojourn. She also had problems socializing with Canadian students on her floor in the first term, but she eventually succeeded in making friends with them through a new international student who joined them in the second term. G-san was a very kind and cheerful person who always made others laugh. Her mischievous character was well liked by the other Japanese students as well as others involved in the program. Since she was from the English Literature department, she knew several students before she came to Canada. The main reasons for her to participate in the PREA was to make many Canadian friends and to improve her English. During her sojourn, she actively participated in sports events organized by her floormates in 77 attempt to develop friendships with Canadian students. Although she was very critical about her progress in English until the end of the program, she was satisfied with her achievement in making friends with Canadian students. H-san was a Food Science student and worked hard to improve her English during her sojourn. She was a warm-hearted person and always caring about the other students as well as the instructors of the program. Since she had some chronic health problems, the sudden environmental change caused her physical and psychological stress during the first few weeks in Canada. Although she had to monitor her health condition, generally speaking, she did well during her sojourn. From the early days in her sojourn, she actively approached Canadian students and tried to have conversations with them. She was in fact one of the few Japanese students who successfully developed a close friendship with a Canadian student, Kim. To her own surprise, she was honored as a student with the highest academic achievement at the end of the program. I-san was the third student from the International Relations and was a friendly and calm person. She and Nami became good friends during the program and later they formed a large friendship group together with Yuki, Tae, E-san, and G-san. In the first term, I-san became friends with a Canadian student on her floor and went to her house for the Christmas homestay. This arrangement helped I-san establish a close friendship with the Canadian student and improve her communication ability. Generally speaking, she successfully developed and maintained a positive relationship between both Japanese in the group and Canadian students on her floor without having any major problem of adapting the new environment. Apart from the students, five instructors including the program coordinator, the administrator of the program, and two secretaries were involved in the program. I obtained permission from four instructors whose classrooms I used for my participant-observations. While I did not formally interview these individuals, they gave me useful insights and valuable information about their experiences in the program through our informal conversations. 78 The Development of an Active Membership Researcher Self Seeking Entry In looking for a potential site for my research project, I came across a study abroad program for Japanese college students, PREA implemented at ILC. I approached a PREA program coordinator to discuss my research project with him. At the initial meeting with the program coordinator, I explained my intention to conduct a study on his students' experiences by using interview and observation methods. I emphasised that I would not interfere with the students' learning activities or any other aspects of their daily lives. In spite of my explanation, he was quite sceptical about my research project. For example, he asked me whether his group would be an appropriate representation of a larger population of overseas Japanese, and whether I could 'statistically' generalise my 'results' based on only 15 students' experiences. While he eventually accepted my request to use his study abroad program for my research site, my experience of negotiating access to the potential study site made me realise the significance of ways in which researchers present themselves to gatekeepers of potential research sites (Glesne & Peshikin, 1992; Le Compte & Preissle, 1993). My initial encounter with the program coordinator also made me aware of the gap in our understanding of what social science research means. While contemporary feminist theorists have provided arguments against a positivist notion of social science research (see e.g., Collins, 1986; Reinharz, 1992; Wolf, 1996), quantitative approaches still seem to be considered more convincing, and therefore, the 'legitimate' way of conducting research outside of the academic community. The differences in our conceptual understanding of research later became a major concern for me as it strongly affected my beliefs and assumptions about my own study. As part of my negotiation for access to this group, I also asked if I could volunteer to assist in their program. I offered my services as a volunteer partly because I felt uneasy about going into the classrooms for the sole purpose of collecting data. I thought it would be awkward and uncomfortable for me to be at the site, sit in the classrooms, and talk to students as a complete stranger. I also thought I should give something back to the people in the group if they offered me their time and personal information for the 79 purpose of my research (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992). One thing I thought I could do was to share my experience as an international student with the participants of the program. Due to a rather closed atmosphere of a small cross-cultural educational program, it also seemed difficult for me to gain acceptance from the people in the setting without getting involved with the program and its members to some degree. When I received permission to conduct my study, I was assigned an assistant program coordinator position which the administrators at Yamato college created for me to make my involvement official and accountable. According to the program coordinator, the administrators were concerned with the accountability of my position as an outside researcher gathering information about their students' personal lives. They also thought the students would probably feel more comfortable talking about themselves if I were a member of the program rather than a university researcher. Considering my research interest and academic background, the program coordinator asked me to assist his students in their adjustment to the sojourn environment by taking on the role of assistant program coordinator7. As a result of this assignment, I entered my research setting as an "active membership researcher" (Adler & Adler, 1987). While my access negotiation resulted in something I had not expected, I decided to take the opportunity by slightly altering my research design. Berg (1995) maintains that in everyday realities, researchers make decisions based not only on grand ideals or theoretical reasoning, but also on their personal feelings. In my view, this administrative arrangement, although unusual, was an extremely good opportunity. It also eased my anxiety about securing access to a potential study site. At the same time, however, my insider role in the field added further human relations complexities to my fieldwork. Researcher as Instrument and Participant: Mv Evolving Relationship with the Student Participants As I have explained in the methodology section, qualitative researchers become both primary instruments and significant participants of their own studies. In order to gain the insider's perspective, they attempt to immerse themselves in the setting by completely or partially fulfilling expectations set by other 7 1 abbreviate the assistant coordinator roll as " A C " in the rest of the text. 80 setting members. Relationships they create with the study participants affect the process of their inquiry, especially the data collection and analysis phases, therefore, it is important for ethnographers to examine and articulate how they, as instruments and participants, fit into their own research projects. Throughout my fieldwork, my reflective journals provided me with a space to articulate my positionality within my research project. By using some excerpts from my journals, I will now illustrate my experience in the field, especially the changing nature of my relationship with student participants and my dilemma of maintaining different roles in the field. My first challenge in the field was in learning how to play an 'active membership researcher role' by effectively accommodating my AC role into my researcher role. At the outset of the study, I had hardly any idea how I could accomplish this. As I read through qualitative research textbooks to prepare for my fieldwork, I came up with an image of myself wearing two different hats (Wade, 1984). One hat had a big 'R' sign as in researcher; the other had ' A C as in assistant coordinator. I assumed that switching from one role to another was probably as easy as putting two different hats on my head, and thought once I got used to my new job in the program, I would be able to play two roles without much difficulties. I began my fieldwork in September 1996, feeling full of excitement and anxiety toward my own study as well as my new role as AC. During the first two months in the field, I took on a covert researcher role and actively worked as an AC (Adler & Adler, 1987). I made this decision after my initial contact with the students at which time I realised the difficulty of having to maintain two separate roles simultaneously while interacting with the students. For example, in early September, the rigorous and inquisitive researcher role was not particularly helpful in getting to know the students. They also did not seem to have a capacity to understand my role as a researcher because they were overwhelmed by the change in their living environment. The AC role, on the other hand, enabled me to spend time with them and offer necessary assistance. Since the students did not know each other well, it was important to create rapport among the group members, including myself. 81 I spent a considerable amount of time with them during the orientation by making origami or taking them on a library tour. In a journal entry on September 4 and 5,1 wrote: [mjost students seemed very open with me about their personal matters from the beginning of our relationship. They shared their personal information with me without much hesitation. The hottest topic of discussion among them was their boyfriends in Japan I was surprised how open they were toward me. Since yesterday, they started calling me 'Megumi-san.8' I think the ice was broken. (RJ 04/09/96, 05/09/96) By legitimating my presence among the students and allowing myself to become acquainted with them, the AC role contributed to the rapid development of a sense of trust and a bond between the students and myself. As a consequence, I decided to take off my researcher hat for a while until I had an opportunity to clearly explain my research purpose to them. Even though my researcher self was anxious about finding out what was going on in the students' minds at the initial stage of their cross-cultural experiences, I put my researcher role aside because it was unethical to use my AC role to approach them and gain information for my study without their understanding and acceptance of my researcher role. Instead, I used my researcher eyes to examine my attitude and behaviour as an active member in the field. One of my main tasks as AC was to consult with students regarding their adjustment to the sojourn environment. In order to get to know each student's personal interests and concerns with everyday life, I began to have weekly meetings with them in the middle of September. I met with three to four students at a time somewhere on WCU campus to chat over coffee. Although I was nervous about the way in which I facilitated discussions with them, the meetings turned out to be helpful in understanding their concerns and expectations about their sojourn. During the meetings, I gradually got to know the lifestyles and personal characteristics of individual students. The meetings also gave the students opportunities to ask me personal questions about my previous and present sojourn experience, especially regarding how to improve their English, how to make Canadian friends, and where to go during their leisure time. The first group of 8 In Japan, people address each other by their last names at the beginning of their personal relationships. Sometimes people continue to use their last names, but young people usually use their first names once they establish a sense of familiarity with one another. I assumed that when students began to use my first name, their feelings toward me changed. Since I am older than them, students used a polite form by putting 'san' after my first name. 82 students also told me they appreciated my help at the beginning of their sojourn. These students said my mere presence made them feel at home (RJ. 18/09/96). Such a comment assured me my involvement in the program was not disruptive to their daily lives. As I got closer to the students and began to enjoy them, I became tempted to spend more time with them. I was regretting the fact that I could not spare much time with them because of my school work and other commitments (RJ. 20/09/96). At the end of September, together with the program coordinator, I took the students on their first field trip. I was asked to take part in this trip mainly because of my bilingual background. Even though the trip required a lot of work in terms of taking care of the students, it was a valuable opportunity for me to spend time with and get to know them. I stayed with Hana and D-san in their room and participated in all the activities organized for the students, including fishing, card games, and a party at night. From this trip, I learned that participating in activities with the research participants is the best way to get to know them, as well as to gain acceptance from them. I continued to have informal meetings with the students to discuss their daily lives in Canada. In October, I also held a meeting to discuss my study project with the fifteen students. I did not invite any of the instructors to this particular meeting since I wanted to ensure that the students were able to raise their concerns and questions before signing their consent forms. Since I had occasionally explained to them what I was doing in my graduate program, none of the students had specific questions about my study. However, many of them expressed their concerns over whether or not they would be able to serve as valuable informants. In their view, their experiences were not something worth being researched. I explained the reasons why I wanted to know about their viewpoints as a social scientist, as well as someone who wanted to work in international education. I also told them taking part in my study did not require them to do anything different from what they were doing in their daily lives. Moreover, as I explained in the consent form, I promised they could stop participating in the study whenever they wanted. As a result of the meeting, all of them agreed to take part in the study and also volunteered to do monthly interviews about their everyday lives in Canada. 83 While my presence impacted on the lives of the research participants, they also reciprocally influenced my position and relationship with them. In a journal entry at the end of October, I reported my tendency to associate with one group of students more than others. I wrote: I came to realize that I preferred to spend time with one group of students more than others. I genuinely enjoy my meetings with the particular students because they try to see things more positively rather than complaining about things they were not satisfied with. (RJ. 31/10/96) As I quickly developed a close relationship with the students, I began to romanticise our relationship as something always very positive and rewarding. However, one episode at the beginning of November illustrates the minor clash between my assumptions of my AC role and the students' understanding of my involvement. I invited them to a Halloween party to give them a chance to meet people outside of their residence and practice their English. Although the function was not part of their program, I could not put aside my responsibility for them during the party. I was frequently watching over them to ensure they were fine in an environment they were experiencing for the first time. They also expected me to introduce them to other guests because I was the only person they knew. At the beginning of the party, the students started painting each other's face because they did not come with any costumes. As they got excited, some of them came to me and tried to draw something on my face. Since I did not want to participate and did not think I needed to, I ignored their request, but eventually I was convinced to have them work on my face. I did not expect that they would actually do it, so it was rather upsetting for me when they finished and began to make fun of me. I did not think it was funny any more. I got bothered with the way the students treated me and became angry about their disrespectful attitude. The Halloween party was the first time that I became highly emotional in my interaction with the students. Later, when I reflected on this incident and wondered about what they had been thinking about me, I became aware of my own assumptions and expectations about the students' behaviours and attitudes toward me. I also realised how much my view of them had been influenced by my AC role and how strongly I had relied on this role to get closer to them. I thought I was developing a friendly relationship with them, but obviously, I was not, like a fellow Japanese student, becoming their friend. Also, from this 8 4 incident I learned the importance of making decisions regarding the level of integration of my fieldwork into my everyday life. While I had been tempted to make more of a commitment and spend more time in the field as I became familiar with the setting, I came to prefer mamtaining more distance from it after the incident. In other words, I decided to draw a specific line between my involvement in the research setting and other aspects of my personal life. Although I have enjoyed getting involved in the program and learning new things, the experience would lose meaning if I failed to fulfil my requirement in the academic community to which I have primarily committed myself. The Halloween incident was a useful experience for me to learn about the importance of objective examination of my involvement in the program and its impact on both the student participants and myself. I began my first interviews with the six students in November while I continued to fulfil my primary duties as an A C . Although I had established a good rapport with all of the six students during the first two months after working in the field, Sayo, in particular, was very nervous about being interviewed. Other students were more relaxed and Kana and Nami even showed their interest toward my anticipated research findings. Since all of them were still wondering about the value of their stories for my project, I had to continuously demonstrate my passion and interest toward learning about their feelings and insights into their sojourn experiences. I maintained positive relationships with the other nine students through my regular involvement in the program and informal interactions with them. Since I did not want to create any division between the six students who were 'selected' for my research and the others who did not, I appreciated occasions when non-interviewee students showed their willingness to talk about their sojourn lives with me. Sometimes I recorded conversations I had with them with their permission. In the early stage of my data collection when I was wondering about how to get closer to the students' perspectives, Tae told me I should do more things with them. She thought my research data would be very shallow i f I only came once a month to interview them, had weekly meetings, and occasionally visited their classes. In her view, such an approach was too indirect to get at what students thought and how they felt about things. She said if I spent more time with them, I might be able to directly 85 notice things that concerned them or made them excited in everyday lives (Int. 5-2-22 / 23). I was impressed by these comments and took her advice very seriously. Once again, I decided to immerse myself into the students' sojourn world by increasing the number of visits to their dormitory and having more communication with them. As I regularly visited the six main informants every month, I naturally developed strong personal ties with them. The few students who had been rather shy about participating in interviews later became very open with me. I also became close to some of the non-interviewee students through my AC role. On January 29,1 wrote in my journal: [o]ne student asked me to help her set the direction for her future. She wanted to transfer to university after finishing her college education. She was also considering to go to graduate school to further her knowledge about scientific experiment. I gave her lots of information about the life of university and graduate students based on my own experience. I was honest with her about some of the consequences she has to consider, such as the financial issue and marriage etc., if she decided to go to graduate school. She seemed happy to get some input from me and I was happy to know that my experience was of some use for her. Of course, mamtaining positive relationships with fifteen individuals was nearly impossible. This was especially true when students had interpersonal conflicts amongst themselves. I was often caught between some students who had these problems. They wanted me to listen to them because in their eyes I was there to help them. To them, it did not matter whether I was an AC or researcher or a sympathetic friend. In some interviews, even the six students raised their concerns about the interpersonal issues in the group and sought my opinion on this. Knowing almost everything that was going on in their group life, I was not able to avoid discussions on this issue as both a researcher and an insider of the program. Sometimes my view of their problem reflected other instructors' opinions, while at other times, it was influenced by my personal perspective on the individual students' attitudes. As I touched on more specific aspects of their lives, my interviews with the six students became almost equivalent to advising / counselling sessions in which we tried to find possible solutions for their problems. At that point, I gave up wearing separate hats for my researcher role and AC role, but instead, put on one hat with two different names. I stopped keeping separate journals for my field experience as a 86 researcher and subjective experience as AC because I simply could not tell whose perspective I was using when I interacted with the students. I continued to juggle all the roles I took on in the lives of the various people in my research setting until the end of my fieldwork. To this day, I still have contact with some of the students who participated in this study. They occasionally send me post cards and letters to share part of their lives with me. They say they keep their sojourn experiences in their wonderful memories of their study abroad, and whenever they remember their days in Canada, they remember me. Whenever I hear from them, I recall the challenges I went through during my fieldwork and realize the prolong impact of human interactions on qualitative research. Ethical Issues Related to the Present Study The particular ethical issues perceived at the onset of the present study pertained to the issue of consent, my relationships with the student-participants during the data collection period, confidentiality of the information, and the translation of interview data. The fundamental issue underlying these concerns is the power relationship which exists between the researcher and participants in social science research. In addition, due to the cross-cultural nature of the research context, it was necessary for me to consider culturally different ethical codes on proper verbal and non-verbal communication during my fieldwork. In terms of obtaining consent, I employed the concept of "cultural sensitivity" (Flinders, 1992) in approaching potential student participants. In particular, I attempted to ensure that the Japanese students were able to express concerns about the study, knowing they could withdraw from the study at anytime regardless of their instructors' supervision. I emphasised this point in the initial discussion of the research project with the students, because it is often extremely difficult for Japanese students to argue against their teachers. Showing respect for teachers is a culturally embedded attitude among many Japanese people. Since administrators and instructors of the PREA program gave me permission to conduct my study before the students arrived in Canada, students were not in a position where they could freely express objections to me carrying out a study in their program. Thus, I held an informal discussion session inviting only student-87 participants to ensure they had opportunities to ask me questions and discuss concerns before making their decision to participate or not in the study. At the outset of my study, I was particularly concerned about my unequal power relationship with students. While I shared the same cultural background with them, I was also a Ph.D. student from a Canadian university who was older than them. I assumed that my researcher self would reflect a professional identity which had developed around a North American academic model. I thought it might even convey an authoritative image to the students. I also thought my position as a graduate student and my past experiences in Canada mightalso make mem trunk I was different from the majority of women in Japan, which, in turn might have influenced their perceptions of my presence in their group. Moreover, my Assistant Coordinator (AC) role seemed to make my position even more powerful to the students. I was concerned as to whether the particular roles I took on at the beginning of my fieldwork would make them feel intimidated and put them under pressure to cooperate with me. In order to avoid this imposition, I encouraged all the participants to try to understand the different roles I was playing in the program and the responsibilities attached to each role. I also tried to utilize my AC role to establish reciprocal relationships with the other participants, especially the students who offered their personal insights on their experiences for my research. I tried to be open about myself with the students and offered my knowledge and experience as a foreign student in a Canadian university to assist them in fulfilling their objectives in Canada. I employed these strategies throughout my fieldwork to make the study less imposing, and to niinimize the effect of unequal power relations between myself as the researcher and student participants. Reflecting on my interactions with the students, I became aware that in most situations, an unbalanced relationship between myself and the students was not the kind of power relations criticised in the qualitative research literature. It was more akin to the vertical relationship attributed to Japanese human relations which is learned through our primary socialisation process. According to Japanese cultural norms, for example, younger people are expected to show older ones some respect because of the differences in age, and in most cases, social status. In return, older people are supposed to take some 88 responsibility and care for the physical and psychological well-being of the younger ones. These role expectations reflect the Confucianist philosophy embedded in traditional Japanese culture, which is also the primary characteristic of Japanese human relations. Because we are both Japanese, I assume my interactions with students were more or less based on the framework of Japanese interpersonal communication. Given this, I employed the notion of "relational ethics" (Flinders, 1992) to minimise the negative influence of the culturally embedded relationship on my interaction with the students during my fieldwork. "Relational ethics" are formulated based on a caring attitude toward others, and are often described as an attitude among family members or friends. Since a. caring attitude is a fundamental aspect of my AC role, this ethical framework was a useful and helpful strategy as I tried to integrate my two major roles in the field. The third ethical concern was the issue of confidentiality. Before starting my fieldwork, I had planned on dealing with the information I obtained from people in the setting as part of my data management strategies. Once I was in the field, however, I was challenged by the fine line between the confidentiality of information and networking efforts among the personnel of the program. Especially, there were moments when I needed to describe physical or emotional states of particular students because the students were causing some attitudinal problems in classes. As an AC and a researcher, I had the most access to the everyday lives of the students, and the program coordinator was well aware of this. For example, when the interpersonal issues among the PREA students caused additional problems in the dormitory, it became necessary for the staff members, especially the program coordinator, chaplain, and myself to intervene. In the process of discussion, a few students became suspicious about the amount and quality of information the program coordinator had on the matter. They thought I was the one who was passing information from the students to the staff members. While many students appreciated my neutral position, others did not completely trust me, believing I might talk about their personal feelings with others. Although I generally maintained the anonymity of the students and protected their personal information, the complex decision making process was certainly the most significant challenge throughout my fieldwork. 89 The last concern I anticipated before conducting this study was the issue of translation. All my interviews were conducted in Japanese because it was assumed that it would be the easiest and least frustrating medium for the students to explain their experiences and feelings in their native language. Allowing them to use their own language would also give them more power to control what they wanted to say in interviews. Although the translation work involved in the data analysis process may affect the "credibility" of the proposed study, for the purpose of the study, it was more important to choose a technique which allowed the researcher to obtain in-depth data on participants' perspectives. In this regard, McMillan and Schumacher (1989) contend that the use of participants' native language in interviews enable the researcher to increase internal validity of his / her study. In this study, therefore, I consulted with three bilingual individuals about my direct quotes from the interview transcripts to ensure the quality of the translation at the data analysis stage. Methods of Data Collection Duration of Data Collection I began my data collection in the beginning of November 1996 and finished in August 1997. I used ethnographic interviews, participant-observations, and artifact collections as the central data collection activities of this study. While Bernard (1994) considers participant-observation as the primary data gathering activity in the ethnographic fieldwork, he suggests an incorporation of other data collecting activities such as check lists, interviews, and questionnaires in the process of participant-observation. Lofland and Lofland (1984) also recognize participant-observation and intensive interviewing as mutually supportive techniques. The combination of different data collection strategies, triangulation, is recommended in ethnography because it is believed to increase the tmmworthiness of the data and to " . . . counteract various possible threats to the validity of [the data] analysis" (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1995, p.232). 90 Data Collection Techniques Interviews During my fieldwork, I used the three types of interview techniques proposed by Bernard (1994); the informal interview, semistructured interview, and structured interview. Bernard maintains that the informal interview method is helpful for the ethnographer to become familiar with the context and to develop rapport with participants in the field. This interview method allows the researcher to exchange casual conversations with people in the research setting and to gain insights about their perspectives on their daily lives. I used the informal interview throughout my fieldwork, especially in the early stage of my involvement with the study abroad program. The informal interview method enabled me to not only get to know each individual in the field, but also set a focus for my data collection. Once I began to gather data, I used informal interviews to obtain additional data and to check the reliability of the previously collected data. The informal interview method was also useful for my study, because it allowed me to make the transition from the assistant program coordinator role to the researcher-assistant role, thereby enabling me to incorporate the assistant role into my research process. I documented all the useful information obtained through informal interviews in my reflexive journals since I did not use any systematic recording strategy for this type of interview. I conducted seven individual interview sessions with the six students, Yuki, Kana, Sayo, Nami, Tae, and Hana. I had the first interview session in November 1996 and continued to interview the students once a month until the end of April, 1997. The seventh interview session was held in August, 1997 at the students' home town in Japan. Except for the seventh interview, each session lasted for approximately 60 minutes and was mostly conducted at the student's room in her dormitory. All the interviews were conducted in Japanese, and with the students' permission, I audio-taped all the interview sessions. During these interview sessions, I used both semistructured and structured interview methods to discuss a wide range of topics related to the students' sojourn lives in Canada. Specifically, I used the structured interview technique for the first and the sixth interviews and used the semistructured interview 91 method for the rest of the interview sessions (see Appendix B for sample questions). In the first interview, I asked the students about their reasons for studying abroad, preparations before the sojourn, and expectations they had about their sojourn lives before they came to Canada. I also asked them about the first two months of their lives in Canada, especially about the excitement and difficulties they experienced in the new environment. In the sixth interview, I had the students reflect on their lives for the last eight months and asked them what they had liked most and what issues they had most struggled with. I asked them to recall their original purposes for coming to Canada and had them evaluate their achievements during the sojourn. In addition, I asked them about their expectations and anxiety upon their return to Japan. For both of these interview sessions, I prepared general questions / topics which I used during the interviews. The format of the rest of the interview sessions was semistructured and I let the students talk about what they wanted to share with me about their everyday lives in Canada. As a result, the topics of each interview sessions varied from student to student. Since I wanted to maintain some structure in the interviews, however, I told the students what I wanted to learn from them at the beginning of each interview session. For example, the general theme of the third interview was the Christmas homestay. Since I had difficulty getting a few of the students to talk during the first and second interviews, I paired them up and interviewed two students together in the third interview9. This strategy seemed to work because those students who did not talk much at the previous interviews spoke more. By the fourth interview, all students seemed to be comfortable enough to discuss their personal issues with me. At the fourth and fifth interview, I showed the students transcripts of their first and second interviews and asked them to reflect on what they said in these interviews. Approximately two months after the completion of the PREA program in August, I met with the six students again in Japan to follow up on their re-adaptation to life in Japan. Specifically, I asked them how they felt when they went back into their own houses again, what they did in order to get back to the Japanese lifestyle, and how they were doing in Japan. I also asked them to read 9 Yuki and Tae, Sayo and Hana, and Kana and Nami were paired for the third interview. 92 their interview transcripts and discussed the content of their previous interviews. Compared to the previous interview sessions, the seventh session was shorter and more conversational. In addition to the individual interviews with the six students, I conducted focus group and random individual interviews with the rest of the students. I used these interviews to gain additional information about certain themes which had emerged during the individual interviews and / or to obtain different perspectives on the Japanese students' lives in the dormitory. The interview sessions were usually held at the students' rooms and lasted from approximately forty-five minutes to an hour and a half. I recorded most of the interviews with the permission of the participants. While both semistructured and structured interviews allow the researcher to take more control over informant's responses (Bernard, 1994), I attempted to ensure that the students were able to talk in their own language and at their own pace in all of the interview sessions. Participant-observation At the beginning of my fieldwork, I visited facilities such as classrooms, the dormitory, the dormitory cafeteria, and the library to obtain information about the physical setting of the program. In January 1997,1 began participant-observation in the classrooms to gather information on the student's participation in their class activities and their interaction with the instructors. I did not start participant-observation until the second term because participant-observation requires researchers to develop and maintain appropriate rapport in their research setting (Bernard, 1994). Bernard suggests that investigators should learn how to act in the new context so that people in the field can be engaged in their own business without much disruption. In addition, in the first term, I did not want to disrupt the instructors who were trying hard to develop a sense of rapport with the students. I thought my participation in the classroom activities at the beginning of the program might strongly influence class dynamics because I could easily become 'a mediator' by helping instructors and students with their communication problems. Although I was willing help out, I decided not to, letting them create their own relationships. 93 At the onset of classroom observation, I formulated key questions which allowed me to focus on certain aspects of communication in the classroom. The questions were: (1) Where does each individual position him / herself? (2) What types of activities are the students engaged in? (3) How often does each student interact with her instructor and what types of interaction are they? (4) How often do the students interact with each other and what is the language of communication? I attended twenty-one classroom sessions of seven different courses. I could not visit the Comparative Cultural Seminar for the preparation of the community worship class because there was a conflict in the time schedule. During the observation, I either sat with the students or at the back of the classroom. For all the in-class observations, I maintained fieldnotes on visual and other types of information in the given situation (Adler & Adler, 1994). Sometimes the instructors included me in their discussions and activities. Whenever I was allowed to take part in the classroom activities, I tried to get actively involved. When I was not participating in the class, I continued to record what was going on in the classroom as well as notes on students' behaviour. Artifact Collection In addition to the interviews and observations, I gathered written materials about the PREA (e.g., official brochures sent to the students' parents in Japan, the curriculum guide, course schedules, mid-term and year-end student evaluation results, memos etc.). During the second term, I conducted two simple questionnaires with the students regarding their friendship patterns in the dormitory and their impressions on cross-Canada trip. I developed the Friendship Questionnaire based on the Best Friends Check List and the Companion Check List by Furnham and Bochner (1982). I translated these two check lists into Japanese and added two open ended questions about the students' views on their friends both in Canada and Japan (see Appendix C). The main purpose of the questionnaire on the cross-Canada trip was to gain general impressions the students had on each place they visited during the trip. I used the results of this questionnaire to provide some recommendations for the following year's trip. In addition to the questionnaires, I asked the students to complete a one-page essay about their sojourn experiences during the cross-Canada trip. Furthermore, with their permission, I obtained some of the students' class 94 assignments and kept materials from my personal correspondence with the students which reflected the development of my relationship with them during the research process. Reflexive Journals I maintained personal journals from the beginning of my involvement with the program until the end of May, 1997. Until I started the data collection, I kept a journal as an assistant coordinator of the program in which I recorded my interactions with the students and the instructors of the program. After I began to gather data, I started rnamtaining a researcher's journal to record contextual information on data collection such as individual interviews and classroom observations. I also examined my emotional state as a researcher when I was interacting with the study participants in the research site and occasionally made notes on it. Data Analysis Procedure Data analysis Strategies In qualitative inquiry, "[d]ata analysis is an ongoing cyclical process integrated into all phases of [the research process]" (McMillan & Schumacher, 1989, p.414). Qualitative data analysis usually entails four stages in which ethnographers constantly attempt to refine their understanding of patterns and themes in their research settings. The stages are 1) organizing the data, 2) gathering categories, themes, and patterns, 3) testing the emergent hypotheses against the data, and 4) searching for alternative explanations of the data which are cyclically related (Mashal & Possman, 1995, p.l 13). I began to systematically organize my research data after I completed my data collection. During the data collection period, I transcribed most of the individual interview tapes and stored my fieldnotes in computer files. Since the individual interviews contain the most telling data pertaining to students' experiences, I started my data analysis with the interview data. All the data were first divided into three timed interval: pre-sojourn, sojourn, and post-sojourn. To guide the analysis, I formulated a coding scheme based on the research questions and theoretical propositions about the cross-cultural adaptation. I thoroughly examined interview transcripts and classified the contents into categories. I tried to find 95 similarities and differences among the six students' experiences. As I coded my interview data, I revised the coding scheme to accommodate the emerging characteristics of the data. Among fourteen categories representing the everyday lives of the students during their sojourn, I selected two categories, 'life in dormitory' and 'the dynamic of the Japanese group,' as the dominant themes in the students' experiences. I then examined contents of my reflective journals, field notes, and other written documents to extract data related to the categories in the coding scheme, especially the two main categories. Upon the completion of the coding task, I began to write up separate summaries on the highlights of the students' sojourn lives for five time intervals. This was the basis for the primary description of my research findings. As I described the participants of the present study in the previous section, I gave the fifteen students two types of pseudonyms. I used Japanese female first names for the six students who contributed to the study as main informants, and I assigned alphabetical letters to the other nine students (i.e. A-san, B-san....). I made this distinction between these two groups of students to show the differences in the degrees of their participation to the study. Other than this point, I have no other reason to separate one group from the other. It is worth noting that occasionally the nine students who did not take part in the monthly interviews voluntarily shared their insights about their experiences with me which helped me to realize and understand the dynamic of the entire group. As for the citation of different sources of data, I used the following system. When I used the interview data from the individual interviews, I identified the location of the original data using three numbers. The first number shows an identification number for the individual students and the second number indicates an interview session. The third number implies a page number of the transcripts. For example, the citation record (Int. 3-2-5) indicates that the description of the text refers to the data from the student 3's 2nd interview which is on page 5 of the transcript10. When there was no written transcription for the interview, I used the date when the interview was conducted as in (Int. 08/04/97). Citations taken 101 used < > brackets in the direct English quotes when I had to summarize a few Japanese sentences to make the meanings clear before translating into English. I used [ ] brackets when I had to add words or replace pronouns with specific nouns to make the meanings of English sentences clearer. 96 from the artifacts was indicated as (the Last Student Essay 05/97) or (Friendship Questionnaire, 03/97). When I used data from my reflective journals, I indicated the source as (RJ. 19/02/97). Finally, a citation from personal communication was identified as (PC. 09/96). Since I conducted all the interviews in Japanese, I needed to translate selected quotes. In order to convey the meanings of the quotes as accurately as possible, I asked three bilingual individuals to translate all the direct quotes used in the thesis. I compared their translations with my own and composed an English quote for each of the direct quotes. I include original Japanese quotes in Appendix (D) for those who understand written Japanese. Ethnographic Validity and Reliability There has been debate over the applicability of conventional criteria to judge the ''tmmworthiness" of qualitative research (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Hammersley, 1992; Kvale, 1996). Qualitative researchers argue that the conventional concepts of validity and reliability are not appropriate canons for the naturalistic / qualitative inquiry because underlying assumptions of those concepts only reflect the positivist world view. Advocating postmodernist notions of validity, reliability, and generalizabiity, Kvale (1996) maintains that conventional understandings of these concepts should be dismissed because they only reflect a modernist correspondence theory of truth. The traditional notion of validity, for example, "...indicates a firm boundary line between truth and nontruth" (p.231), and therefore, it cannot accommodate multiple truths of social reality. Dobbert (1982) suggests that even in natural science, it is impossible for researchers to use a single set of criteria to measure validity and reliability of various studies because validity and reliability of a study depends on the accuracy of the information it produces for the specific purpose of the study. In other words, he contends that validity and reliability of both natural and social science research projects should be individually assessed with regard to the intended goals of the studies as well as the methods and instruments used in the research. Reviewing Lincoln and Guba's work (1985) on "naturalistic tmrnwortfiiness," Marshall and Rossman (1995) suggest four criteria to ensure "the soundness" and "the usefulness" of the qualitative 97 research; "credibility," "transferability," "dependability," and "confirmability." "Credibility" (or "validity" in the conventional criteria) refers to "...the degree to which the research results reflect a clear, representative picture of a given situation" (Dobbert, 1982, p.259). In attempting to establish credibility in the qualitative study via the establishment of "truth" of claims made in the study (Hammersley, 1992), inquirers may attempt to demonstrate that they have ensured the accuracy of identifications and descriptions of the subject throughout the inquiry process. A common method used by qualitative researchers to establish validity of their projects is triangulation (Hammersley & Atkinson, 1983). They also employ strategies such as persistent observation, peer debriefing, and analysis of negative examples (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; McMillan & Schumacher, 1989). Reflexive examinations of the influences of their subjectivity as well as the development of understandings of the personal characteristics and beliefs of their research participants are also important tasks for researchers to increase the "credibility" of their research findings (Dobbert, 1982). In the present study, I combined three data gathering techniques such as interviews, observations, and artifact collections as central methods of the data collection. I began my fieldwork in September when the participants of the PREA program arrived in Canada and spent the first two months becoming familiar with the research setting. This period was also useful for members of the program, especially the students, while they got to know me and became used to my presence in their everyday life setting. Shaffir, Stebbins, and Turowetz (1980) point out that research participants sometimes change their behaviour when they are aware of the researcher's presence, which can be a serious threat to the trulhworthiness of the study findings. As far as this study is concerned, two months was a sufficient amount of time for student participants to feel comfortable with my presence. As part of the data collection strategies, I maintained reflexive journals in order to monitor my own behaviour and attitude during the fieldwork and to record my casual observations of and interactions with student participants in everyday situations. While I selected six individual students as key informants of this study, I asked the other students' cooperation in gathering additional data to compare with narratives given by key informants. Upon the completion of the data 98 collection, I showed all the interview transcripts of the first six interviews to the key informants to confirm reliability of their statements. 'Transferability" (or "generalizability" in the conventional criteria) refers to the applicability of findings of one study to another context and it cannot be assured by the original investigator. Marshall and Rossman maintain that this is the most problematic construct to be established in qualitative inquiry because the naturalistic paradigm does not assume a "universal truth" or "an unchanging social world." They point out that in qualitative research, the generalizability of findings has to be judged by its readers. In order to allow readers to appreciate "transferability" of their studies, qualitative researchers should clarify the theoretical framework of their studies and explicitly describe significant concepts and models which will guide their inquiry process. Perakyla (1997) takes a different approach to conceptualize the generalizability of the qualitative research. She employs the concept of possibility to describe how the findings of one study can be applied in another situation. For example, she suggests the results of her study on questioning techniques used by AIDS counsellors can be considered as descriptions of questioning practices which are possibly observed in various settings. In her view, her detailed descriptions about her study participants' behaviour may provide AIDS counsellors in other situations with insights about the process in which particular questioning practices are made possible. One of the problems I faced when I was negotiating access to the research site was how to convince the gate keeper of the "generalizability" of the study. From a quantitative perspective, I was not able to produce any statistically significant results with such a small sample size. However, as Perakyla demonstrates with her study on AIDS counsellors, findings of qualitative studies can provide insights into how people interact with one another in particular situations and what meanings such interactions have for them. In the present study, I illustrated the processes in which the participants of the PREA program adapted to the new environment by interacting with people around them. Selected literature on cross-cultural adaptation and educational theories served as a theoretical framework for the study. Although their original words were translated into English, I used citations in the ethnographic account to convey 99 •) meanings the students gave to their experiences. My hope was not only to encourage other student sojourners to reflect on their study abroad in relation to their learning experiences about the new culture, but also to provide an opportunity for individuals working with foreign students to contemplate their educational practice. "Dependability" (or "reliability" in the conventional criteria) requires the researcher ". . . to account for changing conditions in the phenomenon chosen for the study as well as changes in the design created by increasingly refined understanding of the setting" (Marshal & Rossman, 1995, p. 145). Lincoln and Guba contend that since " . . . there can be no validity without reliability (and thus no credibility without dependability)" (p.316), "dependability" of the study ought to be confirmed once its "credibility" is explicitly demonstrated. In other words, if researchers employ the same strategies to ensure validity of their studies, they will be able to establish reliability of their studies. McMillan and Schumacher (1989) suggest five aspects of the research design which ethnographers should make explicit in order to enhance external reliability of the studies. These are: (1) researcher role, (2) informant selection, (3) social context, (4) data collection and analysis strategies, and (5) analytical premises. In this chapter, I have provided information on the first four aspects of my study and I have explained the theoretical framework I used to examine the adaptation / learning experiences of the participants of this study in Chapter 2. "Confirmability" refers to "objectivity" in the positivist research paradigm. This construct could be established in the qualitative study by assuring that findings of the study are derived not from the investigator's subjective views but squarely from data themselves. Kirk and Miller (1986) also contend that objectivity is a goal of qualitative research and can be judged through validity and reliability of a research project. Many other advocates of qualitative research have discussed tensions between objectivity and subjectivity in fieldwork (see e.g., Adler & Adler, 1987; Emerson, 1983). They warn ethnographers not to "go native" completely in their efforts to get closer to the people they study, but instead they encourage researchers to maintain a somewhat marginal position where they can use an objective eye to examine what goes on in the field. This way they can control the effects of their subjectivity on the 100 information they gather. "Confirmability" could also be achieved if someone other than the original investigator appropriately examines the research results and ensure the tmmworthiness of the findings. In order to establish objectivity of the study, I used reflexive journals to examine my own assumptions about the participants' adaptation / learning experiences as well as my own interactions I had with them during the fieldwork. As an assistant coordinator of the program, I sought information on how former students in the program had dealt with their sojourn experiences in the new environment. I occasionally discussed issues pertaining to the students' attitudes and behaviour with the program coordinator and the other instructors. At the same time, I maintained contact with my committee members and sought advice when I faced challenges in conducting my research project. Since I continued to work in the PREA program after the completion of the data collection, I had opportunities to casually observe another group of students in the program and obtained some information on their everyday experiences. My association with instructors and administrators of the PREA program gave insights into the students' experiences from a different perspective. On-going communication with the committee members enabled me to critically examine my fieldwork experience and maintain the focus of my research act. Finally, my continuous active involvement in the program allowed me to contemplate similarities and differences in experiences between the two groups of students in the program. Conclusion The focus of the present study was to examine female Japanese college students' cross-cultural adaptation processes within their sojourn context. Since no published studies have investigated the sojourners' adaptation processes in relation to the characteristics of their sojourn context, the primary purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of how the Japanese students shaped their perception of their cross-cultural experiences in parallel with their participation in the PREA program. My methodological orientation was developed around a qualitative approach, particularly symbolic interactionism and ethnographic inquiry. I employed in-depth interviews, participant-observation, and 1 0 1 document analysis as the central methods of my data collection activities. In addition, I incorporated the notion of reflexivity in my research to examine the impact of my multiple roles in the research setting. Ethnographers make different types and degrees of commitment during their fieldwork which may: (1) influence the nature of the relationship they develop with other setting members, (2) determine the quality of data they obtain, and (3) shape both the ethnographers' and participants' views of the research project. Through my active membership role in the research site, I came to realise that the researcher role does not always assume a detached passive observer. In my view, my functional role and researcher role in the field were always with me whenever I was in the research environment. Since both roles were part of my self, I could not separate one from the other or temporarily put one or the other aside. I also came to understand that all the challenges I faced in the present study are attributed to the specific role combination I had in my research setting. If I had been assigned to a different functional role in the field, my entire experience as a researcher would have probably been different. The development of a researcher self which suits a particular research environment is an evolving process (Robert & McGinty, 1995), and ethnographers should strive to create the researcher selves which allow them to gain a better understanding of the perspectives of people with whom they conduct their inquiry. 102 C H A P T E R 4: T H E ' P R E A ' E X P E R I E N C E In this chapter, I highlight significant issues and events before, during, and after the nine-month sojourn of the PREA participants in Canada. I first describe how moving from one country to another physically and psychologically affected the students at the beginning of their sojourn. Then I illustrate how the Japanese students attempted to negotiate their own space in the dormitory with their fellow Canadian students during the first term. I also describe Christmas homestay experiences of the PREA students during the winter break, especially similarities and differences of the six key informants' experiences. Then, I illustrate the dormitory lives of the Japanese students during the second term focusing on the changes in the Japanese students' attitudes toward their sojourn lives and their struggles to maintain a harmonious in-group relationship. Then I describe how the Japanese students spent the last part of their sojourn lives as well as their cross-Canada trip at the end of the program. In addition, based on the follow-up interview data, I describe how the key informants of this study made the transition back to Japan and how they felt about their study abroad experiences a few months after returning to Japan. I decided to describe the students' sojourn lives along a chronological progression because experts on the sojourner adaptation perceive time as a fundamental variable in the adaptation process (see e.g., Brislin, 1981; Furnham & Bochner, 1986; Kim, 1988; Lysgaard, 1955). This chronological summary particularly focuses on life in the dormitory and group relationships among the PREA participants because these two categories became dominant themes. While this summary does not cover all the experiences of the PREA participants related to their sojourn, it helps readers gain a basic understanding of how they spent nine months of their lives in a foreign country and how that experience affected their perspectives. Preparations for the Study Abroad After interviewing each applicant, members of the international education committee at the Yamato college selected fifteen students as participants of PREA in 19961. No official training sessions on 1 The committee selects students for the PREA program based on their academic performance and interview results. By setting no criteria for English ability, the committee attempts to provide an opportunity to study abroad for all the students at the college regardless of their specialized subjects. 103 academic skills or intercultural issues were provided for the students to prepare for the study abroad, but the college administrators strongly encouraged them to develop a basic English ability before departing for Canada. Approximately two months prior to their departure, the fifteen students attended an informal orientation session at the college to meet with individuals who completed the program in the previous academic year. Former participants of the PREA program shared their experiences in Canada and gave advice to the new students for their final preparations before their departure. Most of the fifteen students in this study did not prepare much for their study abroad. While about half of the students went to local English conversation schools or had a private tutor, most of them did not make serious efforts to improve their English prior to their sojourn. Even though they had received information about the content of their academic course work before coming to Canada, many of them had optimistically assumed the program would offer them enough ESL training to help them survive in the new academic and social context. Some of the students even expected their English to dramatically improve once they were in Canada. An Encounter With the New Environment After a long plane ride, the fifteen PREA participants arrived at ILC (International Learning Centre) on September 2, 1996. It was a nice sunny day and seemed to be a perfect day to start their new lives in Canada. The program coordinator, instructors, and myself welcomed the students in front of the ILC building. Each student had a heavy suitcase which contained things she had packed for her first experience of living far away from home. They carried their belongings into the building and received their room keys at the reception desk. After leaving their suitcases in their new rooms, they attended a welcoming reception held by the aciministrators, instructors, and staff members of the program. It was the first official meeting between the PREA faculty members and the students. Both the principal of ILC and the director of the PREA program gave a speech to welcome and encourage the students to become part of their learning community. The program coordinator briefly introduced the instructors to the students. Then they had light lunch together. During the reception, students looked exhausted and did not show 104 much appetite (RJ. 02/09/96). Some of them could not help falling asleep due to jet lag. The staff members saw the exhaustion of these students and soon ended the reception so they might go back to their rooms. After the students went to their rooms, they prepared their beds. The western style bed-making was the first thing they had to learn about the new culture. Making their own beds also symbolized the beginning of independent life in the dormitory. For the following nine months, mothers would not clean their rooms, make their beds, or cook their meals. While they were fighting physical fatigue and sleepiness, their faces showed their anxiety and expectation toward their new lives in Canada. On the first day in Canada, most of the students did not seem sad or lonely. Some of them did not yet seem to have realized they were actually in Canada on a nine-month stay. However, a few students were more sensitive to the change in their environment and were rather upset about the new situation. Hana mentioned that she was about to cry when she entered her new room because the door knob was half broken and there was a spider web hanging from the ceiling (Int. 2-1-8). C-san got severely homesick on the first night and ended up sleeping at F-san's room. C-san's homesickness was the first and most obvious case among the fifteen students although some other students later told me they also felt homesick during the first few months, especially when they received the first letter from their mothers or had problems with their academic work (Int. 2-1-18, Int. 3-1-6, Int. 4-1-13). C-san stayed over at F-san's room a few more times during the first two weeks before she finally settled down in her own room (RJ. 05/09/96). Later, C-san said this study abroad was her first time to be away from her family and the sudden separation from her family was rather ovemhelrning. But once she started her academic work and became friends with the other students in the group, the focus in her life changed and she gradually overcame her homesickness (Int. 07/05/97). A two-week orientation session started on September 3, 1996. During this session, the students received basic information about campus facilities, dormitory rules, the banking system, health insurance, off-campus activities and so on. During the first week, most students were still jet-lagged and had 105 difficulties staying awake during different sessions. Indeed, the orientation session was tiring for them because most of them were not used to communicating in English. Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information passing through their heads, some of them began to wonder whether they would be able to understand native speakers by the end of their sojourn. Kana and H-san, from the Food Science Department, were especially worried about their lack of language ability because they had not studied English after they entered college (PC. 09/96). Many of the other students similarly became aware of their lack of English communication abilities and began to regret the amount of preparation they had prior to their sojourn (Int. 5-1-10, Int. 6-5-9, Int. 18/05/97). Apart from attending the orientation session, the PREA students spent the first two weeks of their sojourn resting, shopping, and becoming familiar with the new environment. For most of them, participating in the PREA program represented their first time in Canada, or even the first time in a foreign country. Everything they saw and experienced during the first few weeks in Canada was new and different. For example, Hana was impressed and pleased with the beautiful scenery around her new school (Int. 2-1-2). The biggest psychological change for most of the students during this period seemed to be living in the dormitory with their Canadian peers. While they were curious about their fellow Canadian students, especially about their fashion tastes, lifestyles, hobbies, and favourite music, most of the Japanese students were not sure how to approach their Canadian floor-mates and stayed rather shy during the first few weeks of the program. As they slowly accepted their new living situation, however, the initial awkwardness gradually disappeared (Int. 6-1-3). Tae said most Canadian students on her floor were "Hakujin2" and it helped her realize quickly that she was in an English-speaking environment. She also said the similarity in their ages helped her get used to dormitory life (Int. 5-1-5). Once they felt a little more comfortable about their new living arrangement, the Japanese students became rather excited about the informality of the interactions with their Canadian peers. Tae said she made efforts to communicate with them even though her English 2 In English, Hakujin literally means White people. 106 was fairly limited. She was not very critical about her own English ability at the beginning of her sojourn because from the onset, she was aware of how little English she knew (Int. 5-1-4, Int. 5-6-12). Nami was terrified when the Canadian students called her by her first name (Int. 3-1-5)3. Kana was also glad that the Canadian students in her dormitory quickly remembered her name (Int. 4-1-16). There were a number of welcoming events for the students in the dormitory during the first two weeks in September and the Japanese students were encouraged to take part in such social gatherings. Canadian students in the dormitory, especially those who lived on the same floor with the Japanese students, tried to introduce them to the social life of North American university students. The Japanese students were happy to be part of these events, particularly the ones organized by the students on their own floors. Recalling what she did with her new floor-mates during her early days in Canada, Nami said: Having a meal together... like going out for dinner. Yes, there was, there was a memorable occasion once. Let's see, our dormitory advisor, Karen, and Judy, took four of us Japanese to have some delicious cake. We then went to see a movie and had the most enjoyable time. It's not a big thing, but (Int. 3-1-4) Many of the Japanese students considered those events as opportunities to get to know the Canadian students individually, and possibly developing friendships. The academic course work started in the third week of September. Suddenly, the students had to change their laid-back attitude and start to work hard. They were overwhelmed by the expectations of the instructors and realized the gap between the course requirements and their capabilities in a foreign academic environment. Except B-san, who had been in Canada as a foreign student before, most students were shocked that they could not follow their instructors. They were especially intimidated by the Women's Study course instructor because she strongly encouraged them to engage in critical thinking, asking them many questions during her classes (PC. 09/96). The students were frustrated, partly because they were not familiar with this type of instruction and partly because they were unable to express 3 Nami was not a shy person, but had been having difficulties approaching Canadian students. In November when I had the first interview with her, she did not have a Canadian 'friend' yet. Considering her limited communication ability and lack of confidence, Nami was delighted when Canadian students began to address her by her first name. In Japan, people do not call each other by their first names until they get to know each other, thus encouraging Nami to interpret a degree of closeness in the Canadian students' attitude. 107 themselves in English even when they had something to say (Int. 4-1-16/17). Being concerned with her communication ability, Sayo mentioned that she wanted to practice more speaking during the English conversation class (Int. 1-1-12). Her concern and desire were shared by many of the other students in the program, especially those whose main purpose of study abroad was specifically to improve their language skills (PC. 10/97, the mid-term student evaluation 96). The PREA students went on their first field trip to a remote fishing resort at the end of September. The place was typically Canadian in their eyes because it was surrounded by dark green mountains and deep blue ocean. The students were very impressed by the Canadian nature. Nami was very excited during the whole trip because she did not expect to see a place which matched her image of Canada (Int. 3-1-4). She and several other students also showed a strong interest toward sport fishing, which was a complete surprise for me. While a few students seemed to get bored quickly with the slow and relaxed atmosphere of the place, many others enjoyed their first 'Canadian' adventure in a non-urban setting. In addition, they received a warm welcome from the people who hosted them during the trip. Having struggled with cafeteria food for the first few weeks in Canada, all the students were very satisfied with the food served at the cabin and their appetite increased dramatically. Although the trip was short, the students used the opportunity to become more familiar with one another and developed friendships within the group. For PREA students, September was a month of the transition from their familiar lifestyle to a western way of living. Getting used to the cafeteria food was the first challenge they had to overcome (Int. 6-1-6, Int. 1-1-6, Int. 3-1-15). Some students thought the cafeteria food was too oily. Tae and Nami were surprised that raw broccoli and mushrooms were regularly served at the salad bar (Int. 5-1-10, Int. 3-1-15). Nami also thought the cafeteria served too many potato dishes, a fact she considered a cultural difference between the two countries (Int. 3-1-16). Since the program provided a rice cooker for each floor, the PREA students were able to cook rice whenever they missed Japanese food or did not feel like eating at the cafeteria. They occasionally made instant dishes such as miso soup and soup noodles, most of which were sent as 'Care' packages by their mothers in Japan. In addition, they went out to Japanese restaurants when 108 they missed fancy Japanese food (Int. 3-1-16, PC. 09/96). Soon the dormitory food made some students realize how tasty their mothers' home-made meals were. Apart from the different food, some students also had a hard time getting used to western-style toilet and bathing facilities. For example, Yuki felt uncomfortable about the large space underneath the door of the washroom stalls (Int. 6-1-6). D-san said she occasionally went to the basement bathroom because she felt uneasy about using a communal bathroom on her floor (PC. 09/96). Similarly, Tae said she had difficulties getting accustomed to the western-style toilet bowl because she had only experienced the Japanese-style washroom before coming to Canada (Int. 5-1-10). Tae jokingly told me she did not even know how to use the western-style washroom before coming to Canada but eventually got used to it. Yuki and D-san also became less uncomfortable with the new facilities as they spent more time in the dormitory. Nami was not satisfied with only being able to take showers (Int. 3-1-7). Throughout her stay in Canada, she continued to wish for a Japanese-style bath with a deep bath tub. Yuki also didn't like the fact that she could not take a bath. However, she soon realized that she had better get used to Canadian showers. Sayo was the only student in the group who had previously lived in the dormitory setting. Although she had difficulties getting used to the cafeteria food for quite a while, she was very positive about the whole arrangement in the Canadian dormitory. She mentioned that living in the Canadian university dormitory was much more relaxed than living in a dormitory in Japan. She also expressed her impression that there were fewer strict, detailed rules and regulations in her new dormitory, and that Canadian students seemed to have much more freedom than students at her college dormitory in Japan. In her view, the dormitory life in Canada was almost too good to be true (Int. 1-1-4). Another dimension of the transition the PREA participants had to cope with during the first month in Canada was how to get along with their Japanese peers in the program. Although they had met in Japan, many students did not know each other personally (RJ. 31/10/96). They got together as a group because they happened to be in the same PREA program in the same year. After starting their new lives according to the social and academic schedule set by the program, most of them became aware that a positive in-109 group relationship was crucial for their success in the program. Like many other students, Nami mentioned that at the beginning of the program, she felt like returning to Japan because she did not speak much with the other Japanese students on her floor (Int. 3-1-6). In fact, for a few students who had less self-confidence in socializing with the Canadian students, the development of a positive relationship with the other Japanese students, especially the ones living on the same floor, became the most significant concern (PC. 10/96). As time went by and they started getting to know each other, students quickly began to form their sub-groups of friends within the group. These groups usually formed according to the similarities in their personal interests, expectations toward study abroad, and their personalities (RJ. 17/09/96). Living on the same floor was another significant factor contributing to the development of the friendship groups among Japanese students. Sayo thought it was natural for them to develop sub-groups within the group because not every student in the group shared the same values (Int. 1-2-9/10). Although some of the sub-groups soon dissolved, the students seemed eager to quickly make friends because it helped them reduce their anxiety in the new culture. Settling Down and Coping With the New Environment By October, the fifteen Japanese students in the PREA program seemed to have managed to reorient themselves in the new environment. Accordingly their initial excitement, curiosity, and anxiety gradually faded away. After the first field trip, the program instructors began to put more emphasis on academic work by telling the students to study hard. Although expected, the combination of the increase in academic work load and limited English ability continued to make many of the students frustrated. While Canadian students in the dormitory slowly established their individual lifestyles and began to concentrate on their study, most of the Japanese students were still unable to manage their daily lives effectively. Most of their time was spent on their academic work, and many struggled with their homework (Int. 4-1-18, Int. 6-1-5). Since all the assignments were to be done in English, their academic work was far more time consuming than most of the students had expected. Sayo and Hana expressed frustration in having too 110 little free time because of the large amount of homework they had every day (Int. 1-1-11, Int. 2-1-6). Like some other students in the program, Nami occasionally had to work on her homework until three or four o'clock in the morning, but she admitted this was mainly because of her poor time management skills (Int. 3-1-13). Yuki compared her life in Canada with her college life back in Japan. Yuki: I don't remember studying this hard back in Japan. It feels as if every day were the day before an important test. MS: So there's some sort of pressure? Yuki: It's not really pressure but somehow it tires me out. It was all right not to study hard at my junior college, but here, it seems everyone is studying all the time. But I guess we only felt this kind of pressure before a test back then... but since coming here, every day is like the day before a test. (Int. 6-1-11) Although there were no special events in the dormitory until the end of October, each floor had informal gatherings in the evenings where students simply got together and chatted in the hallway. Most of the Japanese students usually did not participate in such casual gatherings and instead, worked on their class assignments (Int. 2-1-9). When they had free time, the majority of them socialized with other Japanese students, speaking Japanese among themselves. Meanwhile, the Canadian students in the dormitory gradually became less excited about having the Japanese students around and returned to their own social and academic lives. They no longer considered the Japanese students as special foreign guests in the dormitory. Some of the Japanese students were very sensitive to the change in Canadian students' attitudes toward them and expressed their disappointment (Int. 4-1-4). Sayo, Kana, F-san and a few other students felt the Canadian students were rather moody and difficult to interact with (Int. 1-1-12, Int. 4-1-11, Int. 07/05/97). Hana even expressed her concern about the discrimination against the Japanese students. She wondered if some of the Canadian students deliberately excluded the Japanese students because of their racial background (Int. 2-1-14). While they wished to make Canadian friends, these students were still searching for effective strategies during the first few months in Canada. The dormitory cafeteria was a socializing space for all students living on different floors, to regularly meet and talk with one other. It was also a place where the Japanese students could approach 111 Canadian students in order to make friends with them. During the informal meeting in June, former participants of the PREA program strongly encouraged this year's students to try to sit with Canadian students as much as they could. However, once in Canada, the PREA students faced difficulties following their senior students' advice. Nami said the Japanese students tended to sit together in the cafeteria instead of trying to have meals with Canadian students (Int. 3-1-8). Kana also mentioned that because the Japanese students often stayed together in the cafeteria, it was difficult for her to join the Canadian students on her floor. Even if she sat with them, Kana would not know what to talk about and remained silent (Int. 4-1-6/7). Meanwhile, the Canadian students gradually developed their own groups. Some of the Canadian students were willing to include Japanese students at their tables, but the Japanese students were not confident enough to join them. Nami described how in the cafeteria, the Canadian students on her floor tried to eat together even if there wasn't enough space for everybody. So it was hard for her to join in when she came late to the cafeteria (Int. 3-2-15). Yuki said when she had supper with Canadian students, she managed to answer the questions they asked her. But when they were talking among themselves, she did not understand what they were talking about (Int. 6-2-3). Similarly, when the Japanese students had to speak English at the dormitory lounge or the cafeteria, many of they became rather quiet (Int. 4-1-13). Despite the limited socializing opportunities and the language barrier, a few Japanese students established close friendships with Canadian students by the middle of October. For example, B-san and H-san quickly found good Canadian friends on their floors. Unlike most of the other Japanese students, B-san had no problem socializing with the Canadian students on her floor because she had been to Canada for a few times previously. Her English was good enough to blend in the Canadian students in the dormitory. Becoming good friends with a Canadian student on her floor, Helen, B-san quickly decided to move from her single room to a shared room with her. B-san tried to live with Helen for a few nights, but soon found it difficult to live with someone who had a different lifestyle (RJ. 18/09/96, RJ. 20/09/96). She eventually moved back to her own room but successfully maintained her friendship with Helen throughout her sojourn. 112 H-san became friends with Kim who was a music student at W C U (Western Canada University) living on her floor. With very limited English, H-san tried hard to have a conversation with Kim when they first met. Kim got impressed by H-san's positive attitude and told her she would help her improve her English. According to H-san, Kim wanted to become a music teacher and seemed to enjoy teaching English to her. H-san also said Kim and she both had a strong interest in music and this helped her get to know Kim well (Int. 29/01/97). During the first term, Kim invited H-san to her house twice, spending weekends together. H-san enjoyed such opportunities because she got to know Canadian family life. Through her friendship with Kim, H-san dramatically improved her English, which made the other students feel envious and pressured (Int. 4-1-8, Int. 5-1-9). However, since H-san maintained a positive relationship with the other students in the program and tried to include them when she was with Kim, H-san's friendship with Kim did not cause any problem in the group. All the students were sincerely happy for H-san's great achievement. In October, there were a couple of social occasions for dormitory students. As members of a team in the dormitory, some of the Japanese students participated in a boat race organized by the Students Association at W C U . Although they did not win the race, they enjoyed spending time with their Canadian peers. Many of the Japanese students were also excited about the Halloween party at the end of October. Although they had heard about the occasion, it was the first time for most of them to experience this traditional event. Sayo thought Halloween was one example of cultural difference between the two countries (Int. 1-1-3). Yuki also enjoyed the Halloween party because she put on a costume for the first time (Int. 6-1-3). Many other students also considered this event one of the best experiences during the first term (the mid-term student evaluation 96). In November, the weather was mostly cold and miserable and the everyday lives of the Japanese students did not change much. Their academic workload continued to cause them a lot of stress and several students suffered from health problems such as colds and stomach aches (PC. 11/96). The major psychological stress for many students during this period was related to their limited language ability and 113 lack of opportunities to make Canadian friends. Tae said she experienced emotional upheavals during the first two months in Canada and her difficulties were related to her struggle with the language (Int. 5-1-13/14). Having lost her self-confidence in her English ability, Kana became very depressed in November. She said she could not express herself in the classroom or in front of the Canadian students. She also felt peer pressure from the other Japanese students and felt left behind in terms of her academic achievement. Since she had been a successful student with good marks throughout her schooling, it was very difficult for her to accept her standing in the group in terms of her English ability (Int. 4-1-3/6/7/10/13/20/ 21). Since Kana was the most popular Japanese student on her floor, the other Japanese students on her floor thought Kana had more opportunities to interact with Canadian students and told her to take advantage of her popularity (Int. 4-1-4/5). Having very little self-confidence at that time, Kana took such encouragement as extra pressure against her (Int. 4-1-16). While they regularly interacted with the Canadian students on their floors, the majority of the Japanese students continued to stay together, and speak mainly Japanese. The close ties within the group helped the Japanese students increase their level of understanding about each other's personality, lifestyle, and work ethic, but it also caused some students in the group to fall out with each other (RJ. 14/11/96, Int. 4-2-10/11). A few students were considered more difficult to get along with than others, and therefore, became less popular in the group. Kana gave me a detailed description about the dynamics of the Japanese group during the first term and pointed out the difficulties in creating positive relationships with all students in the group. Kana: Recently, we, the Japanese, have had so many troubles...like fights. We in B3 got along well but...you know, there are too many Japanese students in EY, so fights began to break out. MS: Fights started to break out? Even now? Kana: It seems to have been resolved now but before, everyone [in EY] seemed to get into a little argument and I didn't like it. MS: Did you get involved in the discussions? Kana: We couldn't take part in these discussions (laugh) because we were in B3 but I had a few friends living over there so I could get information about what was going on. I was told though that I was better off not knowing what was going on. 114 MS: So during those troubled times, you didn't take their argument seriously, even though you felt uncomfortable, did you? Kana: Well, they sometimes asked me for some advice. MS: They were the ones who had a falling out with someone else, right? Kana: Yeah MS: So you were listening to both sides then? Kana: Yeah, ...well, in Japan, if you were in Japan, if you didn't like someone, you could just ignore her but here, with fifteen of us Japanese living in the same place, we would all come apart mentally [if we fight so much] so, that's why I said they should make up. MS: Are you saying that after coming over here, there have been a few occasions of falling out amongst you? Kana: Yeah. It was quite something when we arrived. That's right, around September and November, that's when the Japanese students were most quarrelsome. MS: Even in September?! Kana: September, yeah., actually within one or two weeks of arriving. We had all met for the first time [since enrolling in the PREA] and some made comments such as, "I feel uncomfortable with her...." Then during October, everyone was getting to know each other's personality and character and so it was sort of exciting. There seemed to be no problem. But then November rolled around and as everyone got used to each other and began to understand each other's personality, then the "I feel uncomfortable with her...." type of thing started up again. MS: So, the fifteen of you have split off into smaller groups? Kana: I wonder if we've divided up...So...yeah I suppose that we have., but we have been sub-grouped initially and yeah, personality...if one were to say that she didn't like another person [myself included], then others would end up not liking her. That's typical (Int. 4-2-3/4/9/10/11). In November, B-san became the centre of a big interpersonal problem among the Japanese students. B-san was one of the few assertive women in the group. While her English was the best of the group, she was still not satisfied with it. Especially in the beginning of the PREA, she often expressed her dissatisfaction about the academic content of the program (RJ. 04/10/96). She considered it was not demanding enough for her to fulfill her personal goals of this study abroad. Her outstanding language ability put her into a difficult position in the program. During the first few weeks, some of the instructors occasionally asked B-san to serve as an interpreter for the other students. In addition, since she had been to 115 Canada a few times before and was more familiar with the host culture than the other Japanese students in the program, she knew that she had many advantages over the other Japanese students (PC. 10/96). B-san also seemed to prefer staying away from the Japanese group because she wanted to enjoy her life in Canada and improve her English by associating with Canadians. As a consequence, the other students soon developed a conception that B-san was different from them. Because of the nature of the program, however, B-san could not completely isolate herself from the other Japanese students, especially when she participated in the academic and social activities of the program. Her way of handling this situation was to mostly stay with one student in the group as her friend instead of trying to develop positive relationships with all the Japanese students. She frequently changed 'her friend' in the group because, as she later told me, she was not particularly interested in having close friends in the group (RJ. 26/03/97). B-san's approach to making friends with the other Japanese students in the group caused problems among a number of students whose best friends became B-san's temporary friends (Int. 5-2-4/5/6). As B-san's attitude began to influence the friendship patterns of the other Japanese students, Tae, who was always concerned with the well-being of the other Japanese students in the group, became upset with her (Int. 5-2-6/7). Around the same time, Tae had just experienced difficulties working with B-san in one of the group projects, and therefore, knew about B-san's character. When she told a group of the other Japanese students in E Y about her problem with B-san, she found out that B-san's attitude was causing a few of them rather serious psychological stress. Meanwhile, B-san continued to change her friend in the group, which made Tae and the others believe that B-san was the centre of the interpersonal problem among the Japanese students. They began to discuss when and how they should let B-san know about their concern without hurting her. But soon B-san noticed that something was going on among the other students in E Y and became very quiet. As B-san continued to interact with the other students in E Y as if nothing had happened, Tae and the other students decided not to say anything to her. This first major 116 interpersonal problem in the group resolved itself and the relationship in the group seemed to become stable around the end of November (Int. 5-2-6/7). There was only one major social event in the dormitory in November: the Christmas dinner party. The Japanese students looked forward to the event. They went shopping for dresses on weekends and got together at someone's room at night to practice special hair-styling. Yuki said she enjoyed the Christmas dinner party particularly because she had a chance to ride in a limousine for the first time in her life (Int. 6-1-3). Sayo also said she enjoyed the Christmas dinner party because she could chat with Canadian students. She commented that other Japanese students also tried to socialize with Canadian students during the party (Int. 1-2-1). The Christmas party was another social gathering in the first term which was most popular among the PREA students (the mid-term student evaluation 96). When December came, the atmosphere in the dormitory became festive as the students began to decorate their doors and hallways with Christmas ornaments. Hana mentioned that not only did the atmosphere in the dormitory change but also in the whole city during the month of December. She thought Canadian people seemed to put much more effort into decorating their houses and buildings than in Japan (Int. 2-2-1). The Japanese students were excited about an event in the dormitory called "My Dear Santa" in which male and female students in the dormitory were paired and secretly exchanged Christmas gifts (Int. 3-2-4/5, Int. 6-2-2, Int. 2-2-1, Int. 4-2-1). Usually, male students put Christmas decorations on female students' door while they were sleeping. In return, female students secretly placed gifts at the door of male students' rooms. Apart from the "My Dear Santa" occasion, Yuki said one day, the students on 3EY had a Christmas party early in the morning before they went to their classes. She said she had fun at this unusual Christmas party. At the second interview, Yuki also showed me a Canadian Christmas music tape which she got from one of her floormates, Tamara (Int. 6-2-2). Kana also participated in the Christmas dinner offered at the cafeteria with the Canadian students on her floor (Int. 4-2-4/5). While some individual students seemed to have developed a good relationship with their Canadian floor-mates, by early December, the lifestyle and attitude of the Japanese students (especially those who 117 lived in EY) became a reason for complaint in the dormitory. Despite the encouragement of the program coordinator and myself, the majority of the Japanese students were still using a lot of Japanese in the dormitory, which made some Canadian students feel uncomfortable. Many of the Japanese students often stayed up late to talk about their interpersonal problems among them. Sometimes they congregated in one student's room and discussed or had a party until early in the morning. At times, they were too loud, which disturbed other students' sleep. Feeling bothered by the Japanese students' keeping "strange hours" in their every day lives, some Canadian students in the dormitory went to the office of the dormitory supervisor to complain (RJ. 0/12/96, RJ. 03/12/96). The dormitory supervisor immediately notified the PREA program coordinator who quickly called a meeting to discuss the issue. All the students, except Kana, the chaplain of the program, and myself attended that meeting. During that meeting, the coordinator asked the students about their daily lives in the dormitory, but they did not yield any information. None of them, except C-san, expressed her feelings about the problems in the group or her concerns about other issues such as academic work and the relationship with Canadian students in the dormitory. C-san, who had often spent time at EY, repeatedly complained that the Canadian students were as noisy as they were. The program coordinator did not say anything about the "strange hours," but told the students not to speak Japanese except in their own rooms in order to increase their chances of being integrated in the dormitory community (RJ. 05/12/96). Soon after the meeting, it became clear there were tensions between Japanese students and some of the Canadian students in 2EY and 3EY (Int. 2-2-6/7/8/9). The communication problem was a major barrier between the two groups. The Japanese students' excessive use of their own language isolated most Japanese students from the rest of the students on these floors. Even the Japanese students who were not living in EY were affected by this tension because they empathized with their friends in the group (RJ. 06/12/96). While this language problem remained unsolved, both the Japanese and Canadian students gradually turned their attention toward the more pressing concerns over final exams and course assignments. 118 During the final examination period, the atmosphere of the dormitory was very tense. Even though they felt a similar tension during the mid-term exam period, the Japanese students were quite surprised about the change in attitude among the Canadian students on their floors (Int. 6-2-11, Int. 6-2-4). It made them nervous (Int. 4-2-1). Nami said she did not have much opportunity to talk with Canadian students on her floor around their exam time (Int. 3-2-7). Sayo thought the Canadian students did not have to be that serious about their exams. She was very surprised when her Canadian History teacher told her the exam period was so stressful for Canadian university students that in extreme cases, some would commit suicide (Int. 1-2-5). Christmas Homestay The first term ended on December 19 and on the next day, the fifteen students left for their seventeen day Christmas homestay. They were nervous, but at the same time, very excited about this new experience (Int. 1-2-9, Int. 4-2-20). For some students, Christmas homestay had been one of their major concerns since coming to Canada (Int. 3-1-21, Int. 4-1-21). It was quite an adventure for these students to stay for two weeks at the home of someone whom they had never met before. Besides, many of the students were worried about their communication ability and the lack of support from the other Japanese students during the homestay (Int. 3-2-19/20, Int. 4-1-21). Nami, Hana, and Tae were particularly concerned whether or not they could quickly get used to household rules of their host families (Int. 3-1-21, Int. 2-2-14, Int. 5-2-17). Yuki expressed her anxiety about her host family saying, "I often wonder what I would do if the homestay family turns out to be dreadful people" (Int. 6-2-15). She was also worried about her housekeeping ability, especially her cooking skills. Since the students were encouraged to become members of their host families, those who had little experience with household work at home were more worried than others. However, at the same time, most students regarded their homestay as an opportunity to improve their English. They thought the isolation from the rest of the group would be good for them because they would be forced to use more English. In a sense, they were about to enter a situation for the first time 119 where language became the key element for their success in every day life. Some students indeed expected their host families to teach them English and practice English conversation with them (Int. 2-2-13, Int. 3-2-20, Int. 6-1-16). Others thought their homestay experience would enable them to expand their social network with Canadians. Sayo showed her eagerness to become close to her host family during her homestay. She said: Of course, I want to see a noticeable improvement as a result of the homestay... and to be able to become close to the family. Close enough so that if the host family is close by, I can visit them at any time. Anyway, I will make a real effort to strike up conversations. (Int. 1-2-13) Similarly, Hana said Since I'm not good at English at all, if I stay with a host family by myself and cannot speak any Japanese to them, I think I would improve my English at least a little bit. So after returning home and having no more tests, I sort of wish that I would be able to use my English [to have a conversation with the Canadian students in the dormitory]. (Int. 2-2-9) Still others felt that their homestay experience would widen the gap among the individual students in terms of their English ability. Nami said: We are saying that there will be a difference between us as a result of the homestay. At the homestay, we have to converse in English. But now [we don't use English all the time], so there might be a noticeable gap [between the Japanese students after the homestay]. It's a scary thought, (laugh) Instead of someone becoming better than me, I must try my best.... oh, I have so much to do. (Int. 3-1-24) Prior to their departure, the program coordinator gave them descriptions of their respective host families, but the descriptions did not seem to ease their anxiety. To the contrary, reading the descriptions made the students imagine more things about their new families and their homestay experience. Most of the host families were either in the same city as ILC or in neighbouring cities. Some of these families came to ILC to pick up their students. Other students took public transport to their host families' residences by themselves. A few students had to take a few-hour bus ride to outside of the metropolitan area where they were picked up by their host families at a neighbouring bus stop. It was the first homestay experience for all the six interviewees, Kana, Nami, Sayo, Hana, Yuki, and Tae. The families they stayed with were similar in some aspects but unique in many other aspects. For example, Nami and Sayo went to families living in an eastern part of the province. The other students' families were in the 120 metropolitan area. Kana's host mother was an old widow who had an adult child living away from home. Nami went to a family who managed a small farm. The couple had three small children. Sayo went to a family, a couple with two teen-aged daughters. Tae also went to a family with two children, but they had an teen-aged girl and a younger boy. Yuki went to a single mother's home with four girls in the family. Hana also went to a family with four children, but her case was unique because she went to the program coordinator's family. The students' experiences differed depending on the characteristics of their host families as well as their own personality. For example, the one-on-one situation with the widow helped Kana finally overcome her inferiority complex about her communication ability. Since there was no one else but the two of them, Kana had to become the lady's communication partner. Kana said that the lady was very talkative and they were always discussing something (Int. #3-l)4. Although she was mainly listening to the lady at the beginning of her homestay, Kana gradually came to speak more English. As they got to know each other, Kana told the lady about her Japanese culture. She also demonstrated a tea ceremony for her host mother and let her try some Japanese food. When her host mother took her out to parties, Kana made origami for people who invited her. She was surprised how those people were impressed with her origami crafts. She thought it was neat that she could use origami to interact with Canadians. During her homestay, Kana particularly enjoyed meeting with different people through her host mother's social network. She thought people were very kind to her and tried to include her in spite of her limited language ability. Nami's preconceptions of life on a farm made her worry whether she could quickly adapt to a lifestyle she had never experienced before. When she arrived at the house, she realized the farm was the family's side business and she did not have to take care of cows and pigs during her homestay. One thing she noticed during her homestay was the difference in the atmosphere of the large city and small town in Canada. She felt the people in the community seemed to know each other well and have strong ties among them (Int. 3-6-8). Nami said her host parents treated her very well while she stayed with them (Int. #3-1). 4 Since the third interview was conducted by pair instead of an individual student, there are only three tapes for this interview session. 121 She felt her host parents might not be used to having a Japanese student around because they treated her more as a guest than a family member. Nami spent a lot of time playing with the children. She sometimes felt tired from playing with them because the seven-year-old boy was especially energetic. She was also a little disappointed about a lack of time by herself because the children kept her busy playing with them. Nami said she did not have much opportunity to talk with her host mother because she was very busy taking care of her baby (Int. #3-1). Thus, although later she realized how well she could communicate with her host family with her limited English, Nami also thought she did not speak much English during her homestay other than talking with the children. Yuki's experience was similar to Nami's in terms of her interaction with her host family. Although she had wanted to go to a family without small children, she ended up spending a lot of time with the children in her host family. She said watching the children was very interesting because they were very energetic and were always running around the house (Int. #3-2). Sometimes she became exhausted playing with them. Yuki thought spending time with small children was good for her English. She felt their simple language allowed her to understand what the children said. She also understood their English books and videos because the content was easier. Although the mother stayed at home, Yuki did not have much communication with her. The mother often stayed in her own room or was busy taking care of her youngest daughter. Yuki said she did not even see her host mother very much during her homestay (Int. #3-2). Contrary to Nami and Yuki's experience, Tae had frequent interactions with her host mother. She said she helped her host mother with household chores around the kitchen and spent some time chatting with her (Int. #3-2). Since her host family liked outdoor activities, Tae did a lot of winter activities such as cross-country skiing and snow fights. When she played with the children in the family, Tae often played with the nine-year-old boy. She said it was easier for her to interact with young boys because she had a younger brother (Int. #3-2). Generally speaking, she got used to her host family quickly and without any problems. Right after she met her host family, she asked them to speak slowly for her. She also tried to 122 use a dictionary as a tool to make herself understood whenever she had difficulty explaining what she wanted to say. Since the family had hosted two other Japanese students before, they were also familiar with Tae's background. One thing Tae could not get used to during her homestay was the custom of hugging. She said she felt very awkward when her host father gave her a hug for the first time (Int. #3-2). She simply was not used to the custom and had not adapted to it since coming to Canada. Another social custom that surprised Tae was the intimate relationship between the wife and husband in the Canadian family. She often heard her host father complementing her host mother. They also hugged each other in front of her. She was very amazed at their behaviour and thought her own parents would never show such closeness. Sayo's family also had hosted Japanese students before, but they did not seem particularly interested in Japanese traditions and culture. Sayo was disappointed because her host family did not seem to appreciate the things she brought them from Japan. She said the family was not interested in Japanese food or crafts because they did not even open the presents she brought for them (Int. #3-3). Another impression Sayo had about her host family was that they were very spontaneous about going out. Sayo was not given any advance notice about their outings together and had a hard time planning her days. Sayo thought the relationship between host mother and father was unusual to her in that her host father did a lot of household chores, especially cooking. She said the father cooked more than the mother during her homestay (Int. #3-3). This differed from her image of usual wife-husband relationship. During her homestay, Sayo became homesick, especially around Christmas when the host family had their relatives and friends over. She described the event and how she felt at that time as follows: MS: Any sort of homesickness during your homestay? Sayo: Yes, I did. Especially around Christmas-time when everyone got together at the host family's place including relatives, lots of friends and they all had a blast, talking, chatting and they introduced me to everyone and people were like "yeah... uh huh..." Everyone was in such a festive mood, talking too fast for me to understand, looking really happy... that's when I suddenly realized that at the same time in Japan, everyone was celebrating the New Year and having a good time. I felt like going back to Japan. But then again, I thought of how I was able to experience the celebration here and how kind everyone was... But at the party, I felt like going home. (Int. 1-4-10) 123 Apart from this occasion, Sayo was happy to be with her host family (Int. 1-4-10). She particularly enjoyed living with people of various ages during her homestay. She said living with the family was better than living in the dormitory for the development of her English because she was often forced to speak English in order to maintain a harmonious atmosphere within the family (Int. #3-3). Hana said she was nervous about living with her host family during the first few days of her stay (int. #3-3). It was particularly stressful because she was not sure what kind of lifestyle the family had and whether or not she could quickly get used to the rhythm of the family. The arrangement to live with the program coordinator's family had been a surprise for her because she had not expected to stay with a family with small children. Compared to the other students, she had a quiet homestay. She spent most of her time playing with the children. She did not go out much because the children caught colds during the holiday and the family changed plans and did not travel. Since she had wanted to go away from the city, this sudden change of plans made Hana very disappointed. In terms of every day life during her homestay, Hana thought the family was a good place to have her first homestay experience. She considered it particularly helpful that they were very familiar with her Japanese background and the parents and older children even understood Japanese. Therefore, Hana did not have any problem communicating with them. Hana was strongly impressed with the way her host parents shared household chores. She thought her host father helped her host mother a lot with household chores compared to her own father. Although the family did not assign any particular task to her, Hana often helped her host parents with their household chores, especially with preparing the table and cleaning up dishes. After returning from their homestay, most of the students noticed differences in their English proficiency (Int. 3-4-4, Int. 4-4-2, Int. 5-4-1). Since they hardly had contact with each other or other Japanese-speaking persons, they became used to communicating in English. Most of the students noticed that their listening ability had particularly improved during the homestay. Some also thought their attitude toward English had changed. For example, Hana became more willing to approach, and talk to, Canadian students (Int. #3-3). Kana said she was actively seeking opportunities to speak English for a while after 124 she returned from her homestay (Int. #3-1). With something to talk about, it was easier for her to have conversations with her Canadian friends and tell them about her homestay experience. Having gained confidence in her communication ability, Kana said she would be able to express herself better if she had another chance to visit her host mother (Int. 3-4-20). Nami's homestay experience made her realize she should make more effort to speak English, or she would not be able to make friends with Canadian students. As a result, she began to approach Canadian students on her floor more often compared to the first term (Int. #3-1). Similarly, Tae said: Tae: To some degree, I felt that my feelings of incompatibility with foreigners disappeared while I was at the homestay. I sort of feel a sense of relief in that area. MS: You mean like not feeling shy about approaching people? Tae: Yes, like being able to casually greet and approach people. At first I had to prepare for it mentally, but now, I feel quite normal when I talk to people. (Int. 5-4-1) While they had expressed a great amount of anxiety before going to their homestay, the experience turned out to be one of special memories for many of the students. The care provided by their host families also helped the students ease their loneliness while developing personal ties with Canadians outside of the program. Indeed, some of the students maintained contact with their host families and occasionally visited them on weekends (Int. 1-5-4, Int. 1-6-11, Int. 5-5-10), while other students were not as lucky in that their host families did not answer their letters (Int. 3-4-16/17). Back to the Dormitory Life The Japanese students came back from their Christmas homestay on the first weekend of January. They had a week off during the second week of January which they spent slowly returning to the routine life in the dormitory. For a while, the students enthusiastically talked about their host families and passed around pictures they took during the winter break. They also made class presentations on their homestay experiences in the second week of January which were graded by the program coordinator as part of their English Practicum. 125 In January, the students had two field trips organized by the program. One was a one-day ski trip to a local mountain. Although a few novice skiers were a little worried about the trip, once they were on the slope, all were very excited and fully enjoyed themselves. The students were amazed with the size of the ski slopes which were far larger than the ones they were used to in Japan. I participated in this trip and took a ski lesson with Hana and F-san in the morning. In the afternoon we went up to the top of the mountain and skied down all the way to the bottom. Although the two students fell many times on the way down, they seemed to enjoy the challenge because the whole experience was new to them (RJ. 09/01/97). In the third week of January, the PREA students made an over-night trip to the capital city of the province accompanied by two female instructors and myself. They visited the parliament building and the provincial museum to review issues they had learned about the Canadian History course. They also explored the city and visited different tourist attractions and historical sites. In the evening of January 15, the students celebrated their "Coming of Age" at a local restaurant5. Even though the party was simple and small, they seemed happy to have this gathering to celebrate one of the most significant and symbolic events in their lives (RJ. 14/01/97, RJ. 15/01/97). In addition to these field trips, the students began to participate in volunteer activities for a day at a local Japanese-Canadian community organization. I have been personally involved in this organization for the past few years, and therefore, I was in charge of arranging this activity. Each time, three students and I went to the community centre and spent half a day helping staff and regular volunteers. Some students helped people in the kitchen as they made Japanese lunches, others made crafts such as cloth-flowers and cards for various occasions. The volunteer experience gave the students an opportunity to meet with Japanese-Canadian seniors whose ancestors immigrated from Japan long before they were born. A few students also met people who recently immigrated from Japan and maintained their contact with these people after their volunteer activities (RJ. 10/01/97, RJ. 20/01/97, RJ. 27/01/97, RJ. 03/02/97). 5 January 15 is a national holiday in Japan when individuals who turned twenty in the previous year celebrate the beginning of their adulthood. 126 The relationships among the Japanese students seemed to have improved in January after they returned from the individual homestays. Being away from the group, freed them from obligations and expectations as group members. The homestay opportunity also helped them escape from the competition for academic and social success within the group. As they returned to their communal lives in the dormitory, however, most of them returned to their social groups. The close association within the Japanese group again caused some of the students to fall out with one another creating a negative influence on the other students in the group. In January, Hana quickly developed her friendship with B-san through their language exchange activity. During the first term, Hana was concerned about her progress in English and lack of Canadian friends (Int. 2-1-7/10, Int. 2-2-6/9/10). Realizing that she only had four more months before finishing her on-site program, she was desperate. B-san happened to listen to Hana's problem and suggested they should start language exchange lessons. As they got closer, B-san introduced Hana to her Canadian friends in the dormitory and her acquaintance outside of the program (Int. 2-4-10/12/13). Hana became very excited about the change in her social life in Canada thinking that her 'world' had changed since she started doing things together with B-san. She said: Hana: I suppose that something has changed completely as I spend more time with B-san. MS: You mean in yourself? Hana: The way I've been seeing the world around me. The things that I've grown accustomed to seeing have all changed. MS: What have you been looking at up until now? Hana: What I mean is that I was living a pretty ordinary type of life before, so I thought I would just speak English to Japanese people and just be happy to improve my English that way. I had almost given up. And I thought, "Oh well, I'll take this path [i.e. improving English by speaking English with the other Japanese students]," but later I thought it was not right. There is a path which I want to follow [i.e. to have more interaction with native English speakers and improve English], so right now I feel as if I were following that path. MS: So you mean your dissatisfaction has gone away? Hana: Yes somewhat. So then I get the urge to try harder and harder, to get more and more things. I feel as though I'm headed in that direction right now. (Int. 2-4-13/14) 127 While Hana and B-san tried to reach outside of the PREA environment, the other Japanese students were wondering about the sudden change in their attitude and behaviour (Int. 2-4-7). Hana said the other Japanese students were suspicious about what she and B-san had been doing outside of the program. Sometimes the Japanese students on her floor did not take phone messages from her language exchange partners. Hana felt it was because those students were envious of her and B-san (Int. 2-4-5). Regarding the reaction of the other Japanese students, Hana said: Those people around me may sense that our behaviour is a bit strange and in fact they are probably talking about us. But I really don't care. It's not as if we were doing something wrong so what's there to be ashamed of? We are helping each other, so let them say what they want. (Int. 2-4-21) Hana's close association with B-san also affected her friendship with D-san who had been her closest friend since they came to Canada. Since it was not possible for Hana to keep close friendships with both, she had to choose one over the other. Hana described her decision making process saying: Hana: There was a time when I was really worried...which should I take...I wondered whether D-san would understand my situation. B-san won't probably have anyone else to go to if I fall out with her. — I guess it would be hard if you try to accept everything about B-san. You would get tired if you do, but if you try to consider good aspects of her characteristics... and then maintain some distance to keep whatever is important to you. B-san is someone who can really lead others, so I should control my relationship with her and take advantage of her ability. MS: Wasn't there a possibility for the three of you to get along? Hana: No, B-san doesn't like that. She is someone who likes attention so when the three of us got together, someone would have to be left out, and I know that. For example, if D-san came along with me and B-san, then either D-san or myself would be left out. If it were D-san, then I would feel sorry for her — I didn't come here to make close Japanese friends. I already have those kind of friends back in Japan so I had to focus hard on the real purpose of my study abroad to Canada. So I had to think seriously about the path I was about to choose and the people I would associate with. It was the first time that this had happened, I mean having decided on D-san as a friend and then along comes B-san who I ended up taking. As it was near the end [of my study abroad], I figured that something must be sacrificed in order to obtain something. (Int. 2-4-20/24/25) As Hana developed her friendship with B-san, she associated less with the other Japanese students. Hana expressed her feeling about the close network of the Japanese group saying: The Japanese students tend to get along very well and like to group together so being outcast like that is probably very difficult. I was quite worried about it until recently. Which should I take... to be accepted into the Japanese circle and speak English with everyone in the group or, be left on my own and ignore what may be said about me. I guess though, I've always been the type to want to be accepted into a group. (Int. 2-4-4) 128 In fact, the other Japanese students did not seem to understand the sudden change in Hana's attitude but basically left Hana and B-san alone. A few of them showed a strong sympathy with D-san and wondered about Hana's feeling toward D-san (PC. 02/97). In February, many of the Japanese students started tliinking about the limited time they had in Canada (Int. 1-5-14, Int. 5-4-4). They felt time went by more quickly after they came back from the homestay. According to Tae, many of the Japanese students began to talk about their plans for the time after their return to Japan. She described the change in the Japanese students' attitude compared to the first term as follows: Tae: Sensing that the remaining time together is getting smaller, I feel that the others are feeling hasty and I myself feel this. MS: Is that about [improving] the language? Tae: We didn't speak English until now, and yes, we got used to the day to day lifestyle of using English at the homestay, but now coming back here and we've got used to life with Japanese spoken around us. Then thinking about it, it's already February. We can only stay here another two months. If that's the case, then we wonder why we came here in the first place. That's probably why everyone is making conscious efforts to speak English more, we feel a mutual obligation to do so. Previously [in the first term], we were saying that it was not necessary to speak English because we had only been here for a few months, but then there were those students who did attempt to speak the language and they were looked upon as being a little bit different, but now, there's a special motive or reason within our heart to want to improve our English and so we strive to speak more of it. MS: Something you mentioned earlier about having only two months left to go. So, what happens when you go back home? Have you started to think about that yet? Tae: Yeah, I do think about it because we've started talking about when we return home....not only among ourselves but within the school as well. Things like, "Please go back to the college right after you return to Japan" or, "Please try to look for a job." Such things make us appreciate more and more the "dreamlike" existence that we find over here but at the same time, they make us suddenly bring back to the reality in Japan. When we experience a lot of that kind of moment, the thought of entering the workforce or rather, not wanting to have to work, makes some of the girls start thinking about re-admission [to the university]. In any case, these days, I think everyone started thinking about what to do after returning home. (Int. 5-4-4/5/6) Some of the students felt sad going home; others felt more pressure because they weren't satisfied with their progress in English (Int. 4-4-4, Int. 2-4-18). Generally speaking, however, the Japanese students seemed to have become more comfortable interacting with their fellow Canadian students in the second 129 term (Int. 1-4-1, Int. 5-4-5). This was partly because they got to know the Canadian students fairly well and became accustomed to life in the dormitory, and partly because they began to use more English after their homestay experience (R J. 07/02/97). Hana was impressed with the other Japanese students because they began to make more efforts to use English in everyday conversations (Int. 2-4-18). To Nami, it seemed the other Japanese students made extra efforts to fulfill their goals because of the limited time left in Canada (Int. 3-4-16). The change in the other Japanese students' attitude motivated Sayo to study hard. She said: I used to love English during high school and after arriving here, I felt as though I probably knew more vocabulary than the others. There were times though, when someone would say a word that I didn't know. This made me push myself to learn even more. I sometimes wondered, "Gee, I thought I was the only one who knew that word but she knows it too..." and made me persevere even more. (Int. 1-4-19) As the Japanese students began to use more English, their relationships with Canadian students became more positive. The improved relationship between the Japanese and Canadian students helped them develop mutual friendships in the dormitory. Kana said her communication with Canadian students living in the Blue building improved quickly and that she had finally found her place in the dormitory (Int. 4-4-6/7). Tae said she began to speak more English especially after she heard some of the students on her floor speaking Chinese with each other. At that time, she realized she and the other Japanese students had been doing the similar thing to non-Japanese speaking students on the floor and felt sad about having created distance with those students by using a lot of Japanese (Int. 5-4-4). Tae also mentioned a story that one of the Canadian students on 3EY told her. It was about how this student felt about the Japanese students' using Japanese among each other. Tae described the story as follows: The girl across the hallway said something to me once...how can I say....people who speak other languages are scary. I mean, she thinks they appear to be scary. And because of this, even if she wants to talk with them, she can't because she's scared. She was terrified because she thought the Japanese students were pushing her aside, but then she saw us making a real effort to speak English, that sort of eased her fear. She said she can acknowledge our efforts and tries to speak to us more. When I heard this story, I realized how she had being feeling [about us, the Japanese students on the floor]. (Int. 5-4-5) 130 While students like Kana and Tae began to reach out to people beyond the Japanese group, a few others were still struggling to develop closer friendships with their Canadian peers. For example, Nami said her relationship to, and interaction with, Canadian students felt more like a teacher-student relationship than friendship. Although those Canadians helped her with her homework, they left her room shortly after completing assignments. Whenever she heard Canadian students chatting among themselves, Nami felt her relationship with them was far from friendship (Int. 3-4-4/22). C-san and D-san also mentioned they did not have much contact with the Canadian students on their floors throughout their sojourn in Canada (Int. 07/05/97, Int. 20/30/97). One evening in February, the Japanese students cooked Japanese dishes to serve their dormitory friends in the cafeteria. Since they were not used to cooking at home in the required quantities for such an occasion, all the students had little idea how to cook for everyone in the dormitory. With the help of the cafeteria staff, however, they managed to make dishes which pleased most of the Canadian students in the dormitory. In addition to the dishes, the students worked hard to decorate the cafeteria with Japanese arts and crafts. Those who worked as servers were dressed in Yukata6. This cultural event not only contributed to the development of positive in-group relations but also helped the Canadian students appreciate the cultural background of their fellow foreign students. At the end of February, some of the PREA students had their parents, relatives, or friends over from Japan. Sayo's father, Yuki's mother and younger sister, Kana's younger sister and friend came to Canada together with A-san's older sister, E-san's mother and older brother, G-san's mother and ground parents, and I-san's friends. After arriving at the ILC, these visitors attended a reception held by the PREA program. After the program coordinator gave a brief welcoming speech, people introduced themselves and had informal conversations with each other. Students whose families or friends did not join the tour were also at the reception welcoming their friends' visitors. After the reception, the students who had visitors took them on a brief tour of the ILC and their dormitory facilities. On the weekend, some of 6 Yukata is a casual style kimono made of cotton. 131 the students took their visitors on a ski trip, and others visited other sightseeing places. Later on, Sayo and Yuki said they enjoyed their families' visit and showing them around the city. Both Sayo and Yuki served as interpreters and were happy they could help out their family members using the language abilities they had developed through their study abroad experiences (Int. 1-5-1, Int. 6-5-1/2). In March, life in the dormitory was uneventful and the students spent their days fulfilling a daily routine (Int. 4-5-1/3). Kana often cried when she thought about the end of the program. She said she didn't want to go back to Japan (Int. 4-5-12). Yuki said the amount of homework increased in March and she was 'dying' because of her academic workload (Int. 6-5-1). By March, most of the students became comfortable with their lives in the dormitory and considered the dormitory as their home (PC. 03/97). Hana mentioned that the other Japanese students on 2EY got along well with Canadian students on her floor (Int. 2-5-13) while she felt left out on 2EY. This could be ascribed to her socializing with B-san and a few Canadian students on 3EY and not with the Canadian students on her own floor. Yuki also said the relationship between the Japanese students and some Canadian students on 3EY had developed in a positive direction (Int. 6-5-2). She said some Canadian students on her floor were more willing to speak with the Japanese students than others. While she had regular interaction with the friendly students, she felt uncomfortable talking to the other students who were less open to the Japanese students (Int. 6-5-7, Int. 6-5-7/8). Tae said since she did not have much time left in Canada, she wanted to speak with Canadian students a lot for the rest of her sojourn. She wanted to maintain a positive attitude about using English while enjoying Canada as much as she could (Int. 5-5-24/25). Yuki and Nami also wanted to brighten up the rest of their sojourn lives by having more interactions with Canadian students (Int. 6-5-18, Int. 3-5-19). In March, Hana and B-san fell out with each other, which became a larger interpersonal problem involving some of the other Japanese students in the program. It occurred when B-san was visited by one of her girl friends from Japan who stayed with B-san in the dormitory and accompanied her to classes. B-san seemed very happy to have her friend around and suddenly behaved coldly toward Hana. Hana was 132 very surprised and upset about B-san's attitude (Int. 2-5-5/7/10). After B-san's friend left, B-san had an argument with A-san who quickly developed a friendship with B-san's friend. One day, B-san explained the cause of the argument in the English conversation class, thus allowing the instructor to learn of the problem among the students (Int. 2-5-8). The issue was raised at a staff meeting and the chaplain and I were asked to talk with A-san and B-san (RJ. 19/03/97). For the Japanese students, this incident was just an example of the many interpersonal tensions they had been experiencing since September. Although the program coordinator did not interfere much with the students' handling of the problem, the intervention of the instructors made the whole issue even more complicated. Hana felt pressured because in her view, the core of the problem was not the argument between A-san and B-san but her relationship with B-san (Int. 2-5-4/6/7). The Japanese students gathered many times to discuss their problems. A few students also went to talk with B-san in order to gain B-san's perspective on the issue (Int. 2-5-9). The involvement of a Canadian friend of B-san's who discussed the issue with the rest of the Japanese group on behalf of B-san helped to resolve the in-group conflict (Int. 5-5-2). Although the Japanese students were not completely satisfied with the way B-san handled the situation, they also understood how B-san felt about confronting fourteen other students. Eventually, B-san seemed to make more efforts to get along with the other Japanese students. While the interpersonal problem in the group strengthened the bond among most of the Japanese students, they also realized that there were side-effects to their group solidarity, and in particular, their relationships with other students in the dormitory suffered (Int. 5-5-11). As the days went by, the Japanese students gradually turned their attention to their individual lives and their interest in the in-group problem dissipated. By then, it was nearly the end of March. Farewell to a Familiar Environment April was rather hectic for the Japanese students as they had to start packing their belongings to return to Japan by surface mail. Most of the winter clothes, books, stuffed animals, and various presents they had received from their friends and host families were all neatly packed and shipped to their home 133 town. C-san, H-san, and Yuki also bought things such as maple syrup cookies, fruit gummies, or boxes of cereal to send home because they would not find them in Japan (PC. 04/97). The amount of baggage doubled or even tripled for some students compared to the beginning of their sojourn. The academic courses lasted until the third week of April with final exams to be written and class presentations to be made. Meanwhile, they also had to prepare for their graduation ceremony by arranging their wardrobes and taking group pictures. All of these events reminded them of the end of their stay in Canada. During the last two weeks of the on-site program and before leaving for their cross-Canada trip, a couple of farewell parties for the Japanese students were given by people involved in the program. The students also attended the re-entry workshop at the end of April in order to be psychologically prepared for returning to Japan. During this workshop, students were encouraged to reflect on their experiences in Canada and share their concerns and anxieties upon their return to Japan. Most students recognized their positive achievements during their study abroad (such as progress in their English ability and new friendships with Canadian students), but many of them were also worried about whether they could successfully gain future employment opportunities. In short, these social gatherings and workshops were symbolic events for the students, forcing them to say good-bye to familiar faces as they started preparing for their lives back in Japan. During the last two months in Canada, the six interviewees had begun to contemplate their sojourn experiences. All of them had mixed feelings about going back to Japan. Sayo expressed her feelings about leaving Canada in her April interview as follows: MS: So, did this month go by quickly? Sayo: Yes, it did, very quickly. By the time I realized it, it was already April 28th. MS: Are you sad? Sayo: Um, about half and half. There's a lot of things that I want to do when I get back to lapan but yes, there is sadness I suppose. MS: What will you miss the most? Sayo: Let me see, I wonder what it would be... having had the chance to experience daily life with Canadian students I suppose. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity I tfiink. (Int. 1-6-2) 134 Yuki similarly had ambiguous feelings about going home. She was happy to go home because she wanted to see her friends in Japan, but at the same time, she was nervous about job hunting after returning to Japan (Int. 6-6-3). Hana and Tae became bored as soon as they had finished all their academic course work. Hana seemed lost because she had fulfilled her main purpose of being in Canada by having completed her academic requirements. She was wondering what she would do next (Int. 2-6-3). Tae mentioned that she was bored but could not even go sightseeing because she did not have much money left. She said: MS: Are you happy that the program is over? Tae: Yes, although there's nothing to do. MS: What are you doing everyday? Tae: Um, sort of lost in a cloud. MS: You don't even go out? Tae: I'd like to go out but I'm out of money, (laugh) I would have loved to do some traveling but without money...packing, money spent on packing. As I was packing my stuff away, I sort of felt that it was all over and that I'm going home... .(Int. 5-6-5) Nami was also wondering what she would do back in Japan. Since she got used to living in the dormitory with Canadian students, Nami felt like staying in Canada longer. She particularly liked her dormitory room and jokingly told me, 'You know, I'd love to take this whole room back with me!" (Int. 3-6-15). For the Japanese students the end of their on-site program also meant the end of their life in the dormitory. Around the last week of April, many of the Canadian students in the dormitory finished their final exams of the winter session and began to leave the dormitory. It was time for the Japanese students to say good-by to their favourite Canadian friends whom they would probably never see again. While many of the Japanese students were very emotional about the farewell with their Canadian peers, the Canadian students were generally rather calm about it (Int. 2-6-7, Int. 4-6-10). There was no farewell party for the dormitory students and the Canadian students left the dormitory after they finished their final exams. When their close friends left the dormitory, many of the Japanese students cried (Int. 2-6-8, Int. 3-6-4, Int. 135 4-6-10, Int. 5-6-2). Nami regretted saying good-by to the Canadian students and with whom she formed friendships. Nami: It's very strange and I wonder why I've got along with the Canadian students just before I'm going back home, (laugh) I mean it's just within grasp and then it's bye-bye. Well actually, it does give everyone a chance to get together one last time but... MS: You mean like a farewell dinner get-together? Nami: Yes, it was a lot of fun. Like being invited to go to see movies and being able to speak with people I haven't had the chance to until now or even to talk with guys. It's funny how these things happen just as we are getting ready to leave, (laugh) It was a bit sad actually. (Int. 3-6-4) Kana had planned to take a picture with her favourite friends before they left the dormitory, but she missed the opportunity because she cried too much (Int. 4-6-12). Although the issue of making Canadian friends had been one of the most significant concerns for the Japanese students, it was apparent that most students had developed friendships with their Canadian peers to some degree by the end of their sojourn. Despite the efforts by both the Japanese and Canadian students to get to know each other and create a positive atmosphere in the dormitory, the seating order in the cafeteria did not change much throughout the second term (RJ. 07/02/97). Kana said she didn't know why, but the Japanese students were unable to join Canadian students in the cafeteria (Int. 4-4-7). The situation did not seem to change even after they began to use more English on their floors. Some of the Canadian students felt uncomfortable with the attitude of the Japanese students at the cafeteria and expressed their dissatisfaction to Hana and B-san (Int. 2-4-6). Toward the end of March, Yuki described the Japanese students' attitude in the cafeteria during the second term as follows: Yuki: You know, I've resigned to the fact that the Japanese will remain Japanese and, compared to say, December, I'm quite certain of it. MS: Do you use English with the other Japanese students in the cafeteria? Yuki: I do use it sometimes. You know how some words seem to find themselves into a conversation. Japanese and English words get mixed in sometimes (laugh) like, "get me that...". Sometimes, very simple English words come to mind but if the topic becomes more difficult, then it becomes easier to use Japanese. (Int. 6-5-7) Nami similarly said there was a even stronger division between the Japanese and Canadian students in the cafeteria toward the end of the second term (Int. 3-5-17/18). Looking back at her sojourn life since 136 September, Kana mentioned that she failed to follow the former PREA students' advice to mingle with Canadians in the cafeteria (Int. 4-6-6). Similarly, Sayo deeply regretted a situation of the Japanese students in the cafeteria. Sayo: I think the Japanese students should have stopped eating together earlier on. Yes, I believe that. If a student were to be in her room alone and to study, that would be an exception. Visiting each other during free time is also permissible since that is why that time is there, but they should have at least had their meals with other Canadian students. MS: Do you think that everyone would have gotten along better if they had done that? Sayo: Yes, and the image I had of this place before I arrived was that during meals, Gaijin7 [students] and Japanese students all sat together and spoke English while eating. I wondered why I didn't follow with that concept and so I'm a little disappointed in myself. I suppose that there may be another opportunity, and I should think people are people and I'm myself ,and so I must try not to repeat the same mistakes so that I will not regret what I have done... I guess that's regret, yes, I believe it is. MS: So what you're saying is that you wished that you could have gotten along with Canadian students a little better? Sayo: Yes, a little bit more at least. During meals perhaps, we wouldn't just talk with the students on our floor because everyone was there as a large group. This would have presented the opportunity to broaden our friendships. On the other hand, they may have had their own thoughts about us, wondering why we always stick to our own group. I hate to think that they would generalize about us Japanese as being like this because it makes it harder for them to approach us if we were all in a tight group. MS: So what you're saying is that the Japanese group as a whole has built up this "image"? Sayo: Yes, I suppose that's what happened. Even if we were to converse in English amongst ourselves during dinner, I find that to be pretty meaningless. We hardly use English now...but even if we use English with each other, it's not so good. I sort of look back and think that I should have had more meals with the Canadian students when I had the opportunity. This would have really helped especially during the times that we were all together. I don't know how the rest of the Japanese students are trunking but for example, C-san would say, "What's the matter with us Japanese being together during meals..." While hearing this, I asked myself why I did not join the Canadian students. When I first arrived, I couldn't get myself to go and join in and so this led to sticking together with the Japanese students throughout my stay in Canada. This is something that I now regret. I did try a few times by sitting away from the group but it was difficult. (Int. 1-6-7/8) Hana, on the other hand, felt that it was okay to have meals with the other Japanese students. She said: 7 Gaijin is a well-known Japanese word for 'foreigner' in English. The majority of Japanese students in the study used the term 'Gaijin' to refer to Canadians although they were the foreigners in their sojourn setting. This is probably because Japanese people often use the term Gaijin to refer to non-Japanese people, especially people who belong to other races. 137 Initially, I felt it was wrong to sit and eat with the Japanese group. I also thought it might have been different if I had come by myself. But our group was made up of 15 girls making it sort of difficult than say, being alone by yourself. Everyone had basically accepted the idea that the Japanese students would all eat together as a group so there was really no point in doing otherwise. (Int. 2-6-7) Most students left the dormitory by the first weekend of May and most of the facilities in the dormitory were closed. The whole building became very quiet since the Japanese students were the only group left behind. Some of them were still busy with packing up their belongings; others finished their preparations for the cross-Canada trip feeling half sad and half excited. As the final event in their program, the fifteen students attended ILC's convocation which was held in the evening of May 5, 1997. All were dressed in black skirts and white blouses and put on graduation gowns which symbolized the completion of their academic course work in the program. After the ceremony was over and they had received their diplomas, the students took pictures and chatted with their instructors and friends. Although they looked tired, all of them seemed very content with their achievement. During the reception, Tae began to cry because the convocation brought her to the realization she had to return to Japan (RJ. 06/05/97). The next morning, May 6, 1997, the fifteen students left for a two-week study tour with the program coordinator and myself, after which they were slated to leave the country. Traveling across Canada starting from P.E.I, to Vancouver within two weeks meant having a busy schedule. However, most of the students were excited about visiting different Canadian cities such as Halifax, Quebec, Ottawa, and Toronto. During the trip, they visited some historical sites they had learned about in Canadian History course, went to a few museums, and explored some of these cities by themselves on free days. In Canadian Rockies, the students had a chance to see some wild animals and enjoy the splendid view of the mountains. At night, some students studied to prepare for their job interviews, others simply enjoyed socializing, knowing that once back in Japan, they would no longer have a communal lifestyle. Most of the students seemed to enjoy themselves without being overly anxious about their future in Japan. Upon completion of the cross-Canada trip on May 19, 1997, a few people from the PREA program and some friends the students had made in Canada came to the airport to say farewell. Almost all the students became very 138 emotional and began to cry at the departure gate. The PREA staff and the students exchanged warm farewell hugs and promised to see each other again as the fifteen PREA students departed. Back to Reality Two months after returning home, most of the fifteen students seemed to have successfully gone back to their lives in Japan. The majority of the students began their job-hunting right after returning to Japan (Int. 2-7-2, Int. 4-7-1, Int. 6-7-4). Many of them missed the Canadian way of living for a while, but as time went by, the focus of their lives changed. In June, five students from the Japanese Literature and International Relations departments graduated from the college, while the rest of the students did not return to college until October. Some students were fortunate enough to either find employment or make arrangements to continue their education. Others struggled. Once they found their future directions, the students began to enjoy their lives in Japan by socializing with their old friends and doing part-time jobs (Int. 2-7-3). Tae and I-san started to work full-time at the beginning of August. They were the first ones among the fifteen going through the transition from student life to office worker life. When I met them in early August, both of them were already overwhelmed by their new responsibilities at work. Three students in the group were planning to transfer to four-year universities, but H-san was the only student who actually began to prepare for her transfer examination (PC. 07/97). There were still a few others who were unable to decide what they wanted to do with their future. While they started their not-so-serious job searches, those students considered other options, such as going to university or coming back to Canada. When I met the six women again in Japan, their appearance was not different from other young women in Japan. They seemed to have quickly caught up with their peers in lapan in terms of fashion and social trends. Compared to when they were in Canada, they dressed more carefully and wore more make-up. Some of them carried cellular phones or pagers, popular items among people of their age. All these small changes indicated their re-adaptation to a Japanese lifestyle. While they maintained contact with friends and host families in Canada, most of the women did not have opportunities to meet foreigners or 139 practice English after they went back to Japan (Int. 1-7-2, Int. 2-7-1, Int. 3-7-2, Int. 4-7-4, Int. 5-7-4, Int. 6-7-3). When I asked them about their lives back in Japan, Tae, Yuki, Hana, and Sayo sounded more positive and content than Kana and Nami. The main factor which affected their evaluation of their present lives seemed to be whether they had specific plans for their future. For example, Tae was already working. Yuki, Hana, and Sayo had obtained job offers and would start working after graduating from the college. Kana, on the other hand, had some job interviews but had received negative results. Nami was still wondering what she wanted do with her life. In the interview, Kana expressed her dissatisfaction toward her life back in Japan. She said: Kana: After arriving home, I realized how much I disliked being in Japan, (wryly) I wonder what it is, probably life in Canada was too good, I don't know but after returning home, I had a real dislike for Japan for the first month and wanted to go back to Canada. Friends would call and ask how I am and I would tell them how much I hated it here [in Japan]. It's not that something happened to make me feel this way but... I didn't like it and I felt like I didn't what to stay here. MS: What in particular comes to mind? Kana: I sort of tend to think that, "Well, in Canada, it would have been like this" and would start to compare. I guess it's probably due to living here in Japan all my life, living this day to day life and then all of a sudden spending time abroad and experiencing life in a foreign country. It's so different. I tend to only see the things I don't like. (Int. 4-7-1/3) Kana also felt she had been more active in Canada. At the time when I met her, she was not going to school or working (Int. 4-7-1). She said she did not have any clear objective in her life and was wasting time. She was frustrated because her job-hunting was not as successful as the others and became fed up with it. During the interview, she mentioned her everyday life saying, "It's not painful but then again, it's not too enjoyable either" (Int. 4-7-2). Kana concluded that her life in Japan was reality so there was nothing much she could do other than admit to it. Nami was also not happy about her situation back in Japan when I interviewed her. According to her, her parents wanted her to get a job and become independent, but she wished to depend on them a few more years while continuing her education (Int. 3-7-5). She expressed her dilemma during the interview. MS: Do you feel that you don't really start working? 140 Nami: I'm not sure whether I don't want to start working but, how would you say, maybe I'm not mentally prepared to start working, at least not yet. It's still quite vague to me. MS: The fact that you studied abroad didn't have much influence on you, did it? What I mean is would you have liked to stay in Canada a little longer or did you ever think about going to Canada again? Nami: Well, it's not that I can't [find a job] but.... I would like to advance at school but my parents, well they're thinking of my career and so finding a job is the real issue here. Somehow I feel there's no real rush and that I sort of hope to continue studying. How can I say, I can't put myself in a work frame of mind.... it's sort of nebulous. I want to do something about it quickly, I want to make a decision but I'm confused, quite a bit actually and I find myself getting depressed over it. This is terrible but I sort of feel I'm in that kind of state right now. After having spent time abroad studying... . (Int. 3-7-1/4) These six students also had different perceptions of their study abroad experiences. After going back to Japan, Sayo began to associate with people who had lived overseas through her part-time job. Her new social circle provided her with opportunities to use English and also to talk about her own study abroad experience. She enjoyed socializing with these people because they shared similar values with her. Regarding her personal growth as a consequence of her study abroad, she said: Sayo: Because of studying overseas, going all the way over there, I personally, how would you say, have changed. I feel as though my lifestyle had changed. MS: What points do you feel have changed the most? Sayo: Points? There are several but, for example, I don't want to give up things after putting so-so effort, well, how would you say, instead of doing things halfheartedly, I want to do things so that I can be satisfied with the end result and of the process of getting there. What else was there...right, it's the same with people. How would you say, I thought of this after I got over there, the change I noticed in myself was that I found myself following people that were above me. My play friends will always remain to be an important part of my life but say, in the past, I didn't give too much thought on how I spent my leisure time. But now, I find myself taking the time to speak to people who are like role models for me, and I guess I've realized how important time is in one's life. (Int. 1-7-1) Yuki was not sure how to interact with her family when she first met them after her nine months of study abroad. She said she felt shy and hesitated in front of them for the first few days. They were curious to know about her experience in Canada, but she did not know what to say (Int. 6-7-4). While her friends did not seem to recognize a major change in her, Yuki thought she had become more assertive and active after she went back to Japan. She was proud of herself when she made all the arrangements for her job 141 interviews by herself (Int. 6-7-3/4). In the last interview, she told me about the process of her re-adaptation to the Japanese lifestyle: Yuki: I'd like to go back [to Canada] but I find that adjusting back to the life here in Japan was much faster than adapting the life over there. MS: Have you gotten used to it? Yuki: Yes I have rather quickly and I feel I'm more suited to living here. MS: In what way? interpersonal relationship maybe? Yuki: Yes, there is that but also being able to express fully what you want to say and understanding what is being said. If I were to go over again, it would only be for travel. (Int. 6-7-3) Yuki also mentioned how she felt about her sojourn experience after going back to Japan. She said: Well, I don't think that I will ever be able to go over there again but I'm glad that I had the experience and the opportunity to create wonderful memories. I don't think my English improved that much but what was more important was that I learned the day to day living habits and if people spoke slowly enough, I was able to understand some of the words that they used in daily conversations. (Int. 6-7-4) Tae had the most extraordinary time among the fifteen students after she went back to Japan. Her father unexpectedly passed away shortly after she returned home. The incident greatly disturbed her. Tae described the experience she had encountered right after going back to Japan in her last interview. MS: Have you ever thought negatively about your experience in Canada as a result of all the things going on in your family since your return? Tae: Yes, I definitely have. I was so confused that I wished that I had never gone in the first place. Yes, I did think about that, yes. MS: Have you yourself accepted all of this? Tae: Oh yes, well you know, I had just come back and everyone had to tell me what was on their mind. Since returning though, everything seemed to go on and I was lost in it all. I guess there was regret on my part, regret and I did end up blaming myself. MS: There were rewards of studying overseas though? Tae: Yes, there were. Just being allowed to go was a big plus for me since I had always dreamed of going and then actually having the opportunity to do so. I think my father probably wanted me to feel this way in the end and my mother actually told me so., so I thought.... MS: While you were in Canada, you mentioned that you had your own time but do you find that you still have this back in Japan? 142 Tae: My own time? I think I have my own time, hmm...I wonder. I'm not sure. Actually I was quite busy [till the end of July with my father's illness and my job placement tests, so I was too busy to think about myself. It was good in a way because I'm still afraid to have my own time.] but I realized the importance of my parents. It was that kind of period in my life. I had a better than average lifestyle while studying abroad and then came back to Japan to face reality. Basically, nothing ever changes. Nothing ever changes but I must admit that there was a little mental "damage" [as a result of my father's death]. There was nothing I could do about that though. I'm sort of living a daily existence without much change. (Int. 5-7-3/4) As the oldest child in the family, she tried to give emotional support to her mother and younger brother in their difficult times. Meanwhile, she managed to get a full-time job in her hometown. Some of the other students in the group provided great support for Tae to go through this tragedy in her family. Looking back on her sojourn life, Tae felt her experience in Canada seemed very far away from her present life. She repeatedly said it felt like a dream. Tae: It's far, far off in the distance. Sort of close yet so very far away. It was like an fleeting moment and now it's so far away. MS: So nowadays, you don't really think about the things that you thought about in Canada? Tae: No, not in particular. My beliefs perhaps, but I don't think that there is any change in the person that I am. Arid because I believe this, I don't think that there is any change in the way I think. It's just that at that time, I was in a different surrounding and everything I saw including the living environment was so very different. In that environment, I guess I was thinking deeply about many things. I can see that by reading [my previous interview transcripts]. I also believe that there was a fair amount of "homesickness" involved as I read this interview document. I spoke of this before but [my study abroad] is just one scene from my life from when I was 19 to 20 and the stage just happened to be in Canada and not in Japan. Since returning to Japan, I don't sense a feeling of incompatibility all that much and I don't suppose I'll feel it if I was to go back to Canada one day. I do sense that I have grown about their dreams and there were many moments like that. MS: In reference to life in Canada, was it really dreamlike? Tae: Well, dreamlike... MS: But I think that you always tried hard and did your best. You must have seriously thought about a lot of things and thought a lot about others. I suppose you are a kind of person who tries hard to cope with the situation you put yourself in. Tae: I guess that's right. I wanted to be there and wanted to have fun. For that I was able to put in real effort and try hard since there's no meaning to be half-hearted about such things. I wanted to make sure that I was as comfortable as I could be so that's where I am now and there's absolutely no change from how it used to be. There were a few incidents but besides that, there's no change and everything is the same as it was in the past. (Int. 5-7-3/4) 143 Although she had suffered from lack of confidence and peer pressure during the first half of her sojourn, Kana enjoyed her life in Canada, especially her association with Canadian friends. After going back to Japan, Kana tried to incorporate the lifestyle she had acquired in Canada into her life in Japan, but encountered difficulties. She said the differences in the socio-cultural environment of the two countries made it impossible for her to maintain her Canadian lifestyle. People around her interacted with her as if she had not been to Canada. They did not recognize any change in her personality which made Kana think her transformational experience was temporary. Having difficulties integrating her sojourn life into her life in Japan, Kana began to perceive her study abroad experience as a dream which ended when she went back to Japan. Kana: After returning to Japan, someone older than me, not a friend, told me I had come back to reality. The eight months that I spent in Canada was like a dream to me, an ideal world, so now, I feel as though I've come back to reality and especially when people try to impress upon me that this reality. MS: Have you been able to accept that fact now? Kana: There's nothing else I can do about it. If I were to have not gone to Canada, then maybe I could accept this as a normal way of life, but it would have been boring [not having the chance to go]. I suppose that I've had an uneventful life and therefore being able to experience a whole different world while in Canada. On the other hand, perhaps it was too enjoyable, in other words too perfect and so when I returned to Japan and tried to go on living in the same manner, it just didn't work. The environment is completely different so it's impossible. Those eight months were extremely enjoyable but I've come to admit that it was a dream. Like a dream, yes. MS: Can you not continue in the same manner as you were in Canada? Kana: It's not that I can't continue such a way but I have to say to myself that those times were a thing of the past and if I were to dwell on it too much, I would not be able to live my current life. — An eight month dream, that's what it was... a dream. There were some difficulties but the good times overshadowed them... it was a dream and so very different from life here in Japan. (Int. 4-7-1/2/4/5) It was obvious that her last interview had a pessimistic tone. However, later she told me in a letter that she had been feeling insecure at the time when I interviewed her because of her unsuccessful job-hunting experience. She began to feel more relaxed when she found employment after graduation (PC 08/97). For Nami, the interpersonal problem within the Japanese group was one of the most significant issues during her sojourn. She thought what they had gone through was like a story in a girl's comic book 144 (Int. 3-7-3). She was still unable to understand why the Japanese students had become so intensely involved in the problem. As for her personal experience in Canada, Nami was glad she had gone to Canada. When I met her, however, she was having difficulties facing the transition from her sojourn experience to her life in Japan. She said her sojourn experience was a special period in her life which she could not yet fully integrate into her understanding of the rest of her life (Int. 3-7-5). She was hoping to use her experience in the future so that she did not have to feel she had wasted nine months of her life (Int. 3-7-2). Hana had been thinking of going back to Canada for a while after her sojourn. She asked her parents to allow her to come back to Canada again if she could not find a job in Japan (Int. 2-7-1). Since she obtained a job offer from a Japanese company, however, she gave up her plan and decided to stay in Japan. Although she saw many negative aspects to Japan and Japanese people during the first several weeks after her sojourn, she gradually changed her attitude and tried to look for positive aspects. She said if she could not appreciate her own country, she would probably be unable to find the positive aspects of other countries. This realization helped her change her view of Japan and become more positive toward her life in Japan (Int. 2-7-1). As for her sojourn experience, Hana was happy to have had an enjoyable time before starting her full-time job. She also encouraged her younger brother to go to a foreign country and have a different experience (Int. 2-7-2). In this chapter, I have presented the highlights of the everyday experiences of the PREA participants over the course of their nine-month study abroad and also a few months after they returned to Japan. While this chronological summary covers significant events and episodes of the students' sojourn lives, it does not include some other important issues which emerged later as the key informants of the present study reflected on their entire study abroad experiences. In the next chapter, I will discuss these issues, namely their academic learning experience, language development, local community involvement, cultural learning, communication with people in Japan, friendships among the PREA students, and self-reflection during the sojourn abroad. 1 4 5 CHAPTER 5: FORMAL AND INFORMAL LEARNING IN STUDY ABROAD Reflections on Academic Learning Experiences Course Work Over the course of six months of interviews, the academic work in the PREA program frequently came up as topic in niy conversations with the six key informants. Until near the end of their sojourn, most of our discussions dealt with what they were doing in class, how they felt about their academic work load, and how they could improve their English so that they could work effectively on their assignments. Since the number of the assignments and projects they had during the program proved to be overwhelming for most of the students, they were preoccupied with everyday survival, and therefore, did not have a chance to reflect on what they had actually learned. The most influential course was the Women's Study course which most of the students had considered to be the most demanding class of the program. This course was perceived as the most difficult because they had to critically examine and discuss various issues involving women with different socio-cultural backgrounds. For example, Nami mentioned she had difficulty keeping her journals for the Women's Study course during the first term because she had never thought about things from a woman's point of view. She said: For example, if I had been doing job-hunting or something, I might have thought about it... because the situation is tough [for women] nowadays. My friends [in Japan] told me they can't get a job....but I have never felt something like that before. I have heard of it but I haven't had the experience...so I don't know... but I'm afraid after I go back to Japan I will have to start finding a job... .(Int. 3-1-15) Nami also found it difficult to evaluate issues which were beyond her own experience. She felt that, by comparing Japanese women and Canadian women at a more general level, the instructor neglected individual differences among women in both countries. She seemed uncomfortable with labeling women in one culture in one way and women in another culture in another way because to her, it was too much of a generalization (Int. 3-2-11/12). However, she also felt she already knew enough about women in Japan 146 through her own experience, and therefore, did not think it necessary to do the course readings on Japanese women (Int. 3-1-14). In the second term, Nami became more interested in Women's Study course because she could form her own opinion about the lives of other people they were introduced to in various course projects (Int. 3-5-10). At the end of April, she reflected on what she had learned from the Women's Study course and the Bible course and said these courses influenced on her expectations toward her future (Int. 3-6-9/10). When I met her in August, she mentioned she still remembered the information from the Women's Study course very well compared to her other courses in Canada. She also told me she went to the library to look for a book about feminism which she had read about in a magazine. She thought she might not have become interested in such a book if she had not studied feminism in Canada (Int. 3-7-4). Hana was one of the few students who showed a strong interest in the Women's Study course from the beginning of the program (Int. 2-1-2). Having been raised to be a rather traditional woman, Hana began to question her attitudes and behaviours after she started the course. She enjoyed learning about different views on relationships between men and women and being exposed to the perspectives of women in Canada. Later in April, she commented on the academic courses in the PREA program. MS: Was the academic content of the program useful in gaining new knowledge? Hana: Yeah... knowledge rather than language ability. Knowledge. MS: Your intellectual knowledge? Hana: Yeah, intellectual knowledge....the Women's Study was best.. MS: Is it because the topic was close to your real life? Hana: Yeah, I never had that kind of class before. MS: uhn, uhn Hana: The teacher made me think hard, she even questioned us about things that did not seem to be all that important, but later I often felt, "Oh., that's right."... it was very hard, the teaching method was very hard but the class was most helpful for me. (Int. 2-6-12) 147 Back in Japan, Hana again commented on some of the academic courses in the REAP program. She said the Comparative Cultural Seminar was probably the most helpful for learning about Canada although sometimes she got bored listening to the other students' presentations. She again talked about the Women's Study course and, this time, she explained how she felt about women in Japan after coming back from Canada. When I was in Canada and [studying in the Women's Study class], I felt sorry for Japanese women, but after coming back I changed my mind and now I think both [Japanese and Canadian] women have positive and negative things. But when I went to a job interview, we were asked about our opinions on "career women" and when I heard the word "women," I felt encouraged. (Int. 2-7-1) Hana said she started to pay more attention to women's issues after returning to Japan. At a job interview, she could express her own thoughts on career women. When she told me about this experience, she seemed very proud of herself. Sayo was another student who got interested in the Women's Study course in the early period of her sojourn. She especially enjoyed a course project in which she and H-san went to interview a 94 year-old lady. Sayo said they had an interesting conversation with the old lady about her life (Int. 1-2-2). Sayo also enjoyed the other students' presentations on their interview projects because she learned about the different views the Canadian women had on their lives (Int. 1-6 3/4). She thought the Women's Study course had a strong impact on her way of thinking about women, including herself. For example, in the Comparative Cultural Seminar, I seriously thought about my own projects but if the other students' topics were not interesting, I didn't pay much attention, I just thought, "Okay, there is that kind of difference" or something , but women...I thought [I thought a lot in the Women's Study course], also I happened to be strongly... I don't know why, but I was attracted by the topic and I changed my way of tliinking [as a woman] after I came to Canada. (Int. 1-6-4/5) Kana, Yuki, and Tae also made comments on the academic course work in the program during and after their sojourn. During most of the first term, Kana was afraid of the instructor who taught the Women's Study and Bible courses (Int. 4-2-17). However, in April, she said these courses had been very helpful in improving her English because she had to read, write, and listen a lot to convey her thoughts (Int. 4-6-10). Back in Japan in August, Kana also mentioned that Japanese women seemed to have changed from the Japanese women she had studied in the Women's Study textbook (Int. 4-7-4). 148 Yuki felt the instructor of the Women's Study course had higher expectations than the other teachers and that she had to work harder for her courses (Int. 6-5-5/6). She said she nevertheless enjoyed talking with the instructor because she encouraged Yuki to think seriously about her future and pursue her own plans (Int. 6-5-14). In Japan, when she read her comments in the previous interview about her interaction with the instructor, Yuki told me she remembered the conversation with the instructor and how much she felt encouraged from it at that time (Int. 6-7-4). Tae liked the Canadian History course best among the courses she had in Canada (Int. 5-1-11). In all her interviews, she mentioned how she felt working on assignments or attending classes, but never commented on what she thought she had learned from the academic courses in the program. Language Development The main purpose of all the student participants in the PREA program was to improve their English, especially their oral communication ability. Contrary to their expectations, the students did not receive ESL training during their sojourn, and instead, they were encouraged to develop their language skills by making additional efforts outside of class. Attending academic courses in English and living in the dormitory with Canadian peers, soon made most of the PREA students realize their English proficiency was not sufficient. For example, Sayo felt a lot of stress during the first few months of her sojourn when she did not understand English speakers. She said she became frustrated especially when she could not express her feelings in English (Int. 1-1-4). She was shocked with her inability to carry on a conversation in English. Yet, she continued her efforts to speak English because she thought she would not improve her English otherwise (Int. 1-1-5). During the first term, she did not see progress in her English apart from her listening ability (Int. 1-2-6). She said that, even after several months, she still had difficulties following what the Canadian students in the dormitory said, especially at the floor meetings (Int. 1-2-6). By February, Sayo had a more positive view of her language skills. She said she did not mind making many mistakes. She also began to pay more attention to what the instructors said in their classes (Int. 1-4-6). She felt she did not lose her improved English skills after the Christmas homestay, as she had 149 feared she would, but instead she further improved her English during the second term (Int. 1-5-13). In reflecting on her sojourn life, Sayo mentioned her purpose of study abroad had changed after she came to Canada. She said her original goal for her sojourn had been to improve her English, but as she spent more time in Canada, she realized she had learned many things which helped her personal growth (Int. 1-6-3). Nevertheless, Sayo still regretted not having made enough efforts to improve her English while in Canada. She said she would try to maintain her English and study harder after returning to Japan (Int. 1-6-9). Hana was very critical about her language development at the beginning of her sojourn. When she reflected on her progress in English during the first few months in Canada, she said she could have probably made similar progress by simply studying English in Japan (Int. 2-1-7). Hana continued to struggle to find opportunities to practice her English during the first term. She occasionally spoke English with the other Japanese students, but she was not satisfied with such an artificial situation (Int. 2-2-9). Since she could not find a chance to practice her English with native speakers, she tried to think English and to translate Japanese into English in her head when she talked with the other Japanese students (Int. 2-2-12). Overall, however, Hana thought she had not made much progress during the first three months in Canada (Int. 2-2-6). While most of the Japanese students continued their everyday routines, Hana became very busy in the second term after she and B-san began the "Language Exchange" lessons with a few individuals who were interested in learning Japanese. Hana said they initiated those lessons by putting up an advertisement at the Student Centre on WCU campus (Int. 2-4-1). They received more responses than expected, and soon started meeting with Canadians regularly to practice their English. B-san quit the activity about two months after they started, but Hana continued because she wanted to secure an opportunity to speak with native English speakers (Int. 2-6-7). Hana's frustration with communication problems and lack of opportunities to practice English decreased as a result of her participation in the language exchange lessons (Int. 2-4-2/3). Through her language exchange experience, Hana also seemed to develop her confidence in using English. She said even though her English was not perfect, she began to speak of her opinions and 150 feelings rather than holding them within herself (Int. 2-5-15). The activity also enabled her to meet with people outside of the program (Int. 2-4-9). Nami had difficulties using English in her everyday life during the first term because of her limited vocabulary and lack of self-confidence (Int. 3-1-7/19). She sometimes felt like not speaking English at all, which made her wonder why she came to Canada in the first place (Int. 3-1-20). After the program coordinator told the PREA students to use only English on their floors, Nami tried using more English, and soon realized how difficult it was for her to express what she wanted to say in English. She said she did not mind speaking English, but she had to simplify things she wanted to say, which made her feel she was saying something different from what she really meant (Int. 3-2-3). Nami was still not sure if she had made some progress in her English in the second term, (Int. 3-5-7). However, she said she was not nervous when talking with Canadians (Int. 3-5-15). She also overcame her fear of taking telephone calls on her floor as she became able to avoid making mistakes by taking notes or asking the person on the phone to repeat what he / she said (Int. 3-5-16). Nami did not improve her English dramatically as she had expected before coming to Canada, but instead, she said she learned that one has to make a great effort to become able to speak English well (Int. 3-5-19). Kana was concerned whether she could improve her English speaking ability while making friends with Canadian students. At the beginning of her sojourn, she thought her English was slowly improving, but soon she lost that positive feeling about her English and herself. She then became afraid of making mistakes and became nervous about interacting with Canadian students in the dormitory (Int. 4-2-14). She was also feeling a great amount of peer pressure from the other Japanese students, especially her floormates. She felt her English was the worst in the group. Yet the other students thought Kana received the most attention from the Canadian students on their floor and encouraged Kana to use more English. For Kana, such encouragement became the source of additional pressure and made her feel more intimidated. 151 After her Christmas homestay, Kana became less concerned about her English. She said that, although her English might not have greatly improved, she at least got used to English during her homestay (Int. 4-4-2). Unfortunately however, she said, her English, especially her speaking and listening abilities, gradually deteriorated as she spent more time with the other Japanese students and had fewer opportunities to use English in the dormitory during the second term (Int. 4-5-9, Int. 4-5-10). She, again, had to struggle with her English. This time she had difficulties mamtaining her ability in her everyday life in the dormitory. Looking back on her sojourn life in Canada at the end of the program, Kana said she could not improve her English as she had expected and regretted that her English became poorer after the homestay. She also wondered whether she would forget English once she returned to Japan (Int. 4-6-5). Overall, however, she said she became less intimidated when interacting with English speaking people as she was not afraid to talk to someone in English any more. This change, she thought, was one of the positive things she had gained through her experience in Canada. Tae also was struggling with her English in the early stage of her sojourn and regretted not having prepared herself better before coming to Canada (Int. 5-1-10). She became frustrated because her listening and speaking abilities did not improve very much during the first three months in Canada. Even though the instructors commented on how her English had improved, she, like the other Japanese students, was not satisfied with her progress (Int. 5-1-12). Tae pointed out that the fact that she could count on the other Japanese students in the group, may have been an obstacle to improving English. She also mentioned she did not always have contact with native English speaking persons in the dormitory, which may have been another impediment to the development of her English ability (Int. 5-1-12). In February, Tae noticed a change in the other Japanese students' attitude toward using English (Int. 5-4-4). Their change made Tae reflect on her own attitude toward her language development, and she, too, gradually began to use more English in daily life. However, her attitude changed again in March. Tae said she was using mainly Japanese in February and March and began to feel that it was okay for her use Japanese as long as she maintained a positive attitude toward the use of English (Int. 5-5-1). She seemed 152 satisfied with her decision and continued to have good relationships with both Japanese and English speaking groups until the end of on-site program. During the cross-Canada trip, however, she began to seriously regret her lack of efforts to improve her English in the past eight months (PC. 05/97). Yuki's main purpose for coming to Canada was to be fluent in English. She said she noticed progress, especially in her listening ability during the first two months in Canada (Int. 6-1-9). However, when she compared herself with the other Japanese students, she soon began to wonder whether she could really improve her English during her sojourn. She felt some of the Japanese students had a higher level of English comprehension than she had and felt uneasy about the differences (Int. 6-1-9). After her Christmas homestay, Yuki noticed that she could understand her instructors better than in the first term. She also said she began to speak up in the classes, even if her grammar was incorrect (Int. 6-4-13). Toward the end of her sojourn, Yuki said her English was dramatically different compared with the beginning of her sojourn. She gave an example of her improvement by mentioning that, when she listened to the radio or when she overheard someone's conversation on the floor, she could understand what people said (Int. 6-5-8). Reevaluating her purpose for studying abroad, Yuki said she had a very high expectation of the improvement of her English because she thought she could become fluent in English once in an English speaking country. After having struggled for eight months, Yuki realized her original expectation had been too high, but she thought her English was far better. Everyday Learning Experiences Involvement with the Local Church Community Although their college in Japan was a Christian institution and offered courses about Christianity, the PREA students had not studied much about the Bible or Christian beliefs before coming to Canada. None of the students were Christians, and except for four students who had some exposure to the religion in their high school, this study abroad program was their first experience living in the Christian community thereby learning about its fundamental philosophy and religious practice in a rather intensive way. Most students struggled with the Bible course during the first term, especially at the beginning when their 153 language ability was fairly limited. Some students thought studying the Bible and attending worship were a waste of their time because they did not see the value of learning about the religion (PC. 09/96, PC. 10/96). While it was not a requirement, the PREA students were also strongly encouraged to attend Sunday services and take part in activities at the local churches as part of the extra-curricular activities in the program. The main purpose for the student's involvement in the local community was to get to know people outside of the program and the dormitory to expand their social networks. At the beginning of the program, fifteen students chose one of three local churches to attend throughout their stay in Canada. Four students went to Church A, another four went Church B, and the rest went to Church C. Among the six key informants, Yuki and Sayo went to Church A, Nami and Tae went to Church B, and Kana and Hana went to Church C. Church A had a fairly large number of believers with Japanese background and the four students received a warm welcome on their first visit at the church (Int. 1-2-11/12). There was also a Japanese minister at Church A who assisted the students during the service and invited them to church activities. Church A had many social events for its members and the four students occasionally took part in these informal gatherings (Int. 6-2-6). There were two Japanese families at Church B and the four students had some opportunities for getting to know the church members (Int. 3-1-9). At the beginning of the program, they were invited to the minister's house for supper (Int. 5-1-5). There was hardly any social activities at Church C, and the Japanese students at Church C did not have many opportunities to get to know the church members (Int. 4-1-5/6, Int. 2-1-5/6). Among the fifteen students, the four students who went to Church A got most actively involved in the church activities by becoming members of the church choir at the beginning of the program. The rest of the students went to their churches a few times during the first term, but most of them stopped going because they did not see much benefit in participating in the local church activities. Both Kana and Hana continued to attend services at Church C until March, but they were rather disappointed with the lack of opportunities to get to know people outside of the program. Since they hardly had any interaction with the 154 church members, Hana and Kana thought attending church did not provide them with chances to practice their English (Int. 2-2-11, Int. 2-5-14, Int. 2-6-2, Int. 4-4-3/8/9, Int. 4-5-3). At the beginning of the program, Nami had difficulties attending church services or even taking the religious study courses because she did not believe in Christianity. She felt very awkward saying prayers or singing hymns without fully recognizing what they meant to her (Int. 3-2-9/10). Thus, she was not keen on attending Sunday services at Church B and started skipping them after the second term (Int. 3-5-7). Contrary to Nami, Tae did not mind attending religious services since she had had prior experiences with Christianity. She enjoyed talking with people at Church B because she felt they seemed to listen to her eagerly, which, in turn, made it easier for her to engage in conversations with them (Int. 5-1-5, Int. 5-6-7). Despite her positive feelings toward the members of the church, she did not go to church much while in Canada because she was usually too tired to get up early on weekends (Int. 5-5-19). The situation was not much different for the students at Church A except for Sayo, who continued her fairly active involvement until the end of April. Yuki said although she enjoyed singing English songs in the church choir, she did not like to attend practice early in the morning (Int. 6-2-6/7). Although she occasionally attended social gatherings, Yuki stopped going to church around October because she could not get up early on Sundays (Int. 6-1-4). Sayo occasionally talked about her experiences at Church A in her monthly interviews, especially her association with Japanese members at the church. She said people at the church got to know her and the other Japanese students as 'choir girls' and were very friendly to them. She did not like to get up early in the mornings to go to church, but thought the opportunity was good for her to meet and practice English with people outside of the dormitory. She also occasionally asked the Japanese members at the church to help her with her assignments and sometimes she sought advice about how to improve her English (Int. 1-2-1/5). Since there were many Japanese people at the church, she did not seem to feel intimidated taking part in the church activities, even without the other students. By the middle of December, she said she got used to going to Church A (Int. 1-2-13). Through her church involvement, she said she gained opportunities in 155 talking with people of different age groups (Int. 1-5-13). She also said she was strongly influenced and felt encouraged by some of the Japanese members as she learned about their experiences in Canada (Int. 1-4-1, Int. 1-6-17). She became good friends with a few of these individuals whose friendships she wanted to maintain even after returning to Japan (Int. 1-6-2). In one of her interviews, she mentioned how she felt about meeting these Japanese people in Canada: After coming over here, everything centres around Canadians. It certainly would be better for me if I was to study Canadian culture but instead, I seem to have picked up the thought processes of the Japanese who live here. I suppose it's good to observe Canadians but I also feel that there is a lot to learn from watching Japanese people who study and live here. (Int. 1-4-1) Canadian Society and Culture Before coming to Canada, most of the students in the program did not know much about Canada. For example, Nami said she had considered Canada as part of the United States and thought Canadian culture was thoroughly based on Christianity (Int. 3-1-10). D-san had expected there would be only white people in Canada (Int. 20/03/97). After living in Canada for a while, the students began to notice some of the differences between Japan and Canada. For example, Yuki was surprised with the opposite traffic when she first went out. All of them felt that prices of things were cheaper in Canada, especially the transportation cost (CP. 09/96, Int. 4-6-5, Int. 3-6-7, Int. 6-1-16). As they studied Canadian history in class and got to know people around them, they gradually gained more knowledge about Canadian society and culture. Toward the end of the interview sessions, the key informants began to reflect on what they had learned about Canada and Canadian people through their sojourn. Many of the students in the program were impressed with Canadian natural landscape from the beginning of their sojourn. Yuki and Nami mentioned that they first noticed the cleanness of the air when they arrived in Canada (Int. 3-6-13, Int. 6-4-17, Int. 6-6-8). They felt people in Canada had more living space than in Japan (Int. 3-6-13, Int. 6-4-17). They also had an impression that Canada was a country full of beautiful nature. Yuki said while in Canada she discovered how comfortable it was to lie on the grass, which she had never done in Japan (Int. 6-6-7). When the students went on their first trip, they also enjoyed the natural beauty of Canada in the remote non-urban setting. While most of them simply 156 appreciated the beauty of the Canadian nature, Tae observed it from a different angle. Later in the interview, she mentioned her feelings about the clear cuts she saw on the surrounding mountains at the field trip. I was shocked to see the 'bald' mountains...and I thought most trees in Canada are exported to Japan and felt bad. I'm not an ecologist but I, Japan, people in Japan are affluent and there are things everywhere... but people waste pulp product, for example, tissue paper and everything else... but people here don't waste things and I got surprised with that attitude... and we went to the place [during the field trip] and I saw the mountains. Those mountains were so beautiful but they were getting 'bald'... I felt very sorry. If I have a chance, I want to research on this issue some time. (Int. 5-1-3/4) Regarding the general attitude of people with whom they had contact in Canada, Hana, Tae, and Yuki thought people were very kind and friendly. Hana thought it was because many Canadians she met believed in Christianity (Int. 2-6-5) whereas, Tae attributed Canadian people's kindness to the multicultural nature of the country (Int. 5-6-10). Before coming to Canada, Tae had thought foreigners were cold toward Japanese people, but she changed that view as she began to associate with people in her new environment (Int. 5-1-7). Yuki and F-san also enjoyed talking with strangers on the street or at the bus stop, which they thought would never happen in Japan (Int. 6-6-5, Int. 07/05/97). Nami thought Canadians were more self-assertive than Japanese in a sense that people had their own opinions and did not hesitate to express them (Int. 3-6-13). Sayo felt Canadian girls did not seem to form a group with a strong group solidarity as the Japanese girls did. She thought Canadians acted more independently based on their own will and when they formed a group, they were still open toward others outside of their group (Int. 1-6-7/8). Lastly, some students liked the multicultural atmosphere of the country because it gave them opportunities to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds (Int. 1-6-10). Tae was fascinated by the fact that people of various races and cultures share the same space as a country but at the same time, they maintain their own world without blaming or interfering each other (Int. 5-1-23/24). Generally speaking, most of the Japanese students had a positive feeling about Canada and felt Canada was an easier place to live if they could overcome their language problem. 157 About Friends and Families in Japan While in Canada, the Japanese students maintained their correspondence with people in Japan mainly by letters and telephone calls (Int. 1-2-8, Int. 2-1-5, Int. 3-1-6, Int. 4-1-11/12, Int. 5-1-16, Int. 6-1-7). Many of the students called their families approximately once a week during the first few months in Canada to let their families know about their new lives in Canada. Being in a strange environment away from families and friends, the letters and calls from Japan were very important for them not only to keep their ties with Japan but also to reduce their anxieties and loneliness in the early period of their sojourn (Int. 1-1-6, Int. 3-6-12, Int. 4-6-9). For example, Sayo, who had difficulties getting used to the cafeteria food in September, recalled how letters from her friends in Japan helped her overcome her difficulties: I cannot eat vegetables and the cafeteria food is too oily, so at first, I thought I would not eat at all, but then I received letters from acquaintances in Japan saying, "You shouldn't keep complaining." or 'You went to Canada all the way from Japan, so you should experience the culture by eating food there. Even if you feel like having Japanese food, you are there only for a limited amount of time, so you have to make efforts."... or 'You know, there are many people like me who cannot afford to go to Canada." Then I realized I should eat the cafeteria food whenever I can. (Int. 1-1-6) She also mentioned how these letters continued to encourage her to overcome loneliness and change her attitude. I don't feel lonely any more but when I came to Canada I was very lonely. Nowadays...when I receive letters from Japan, I feel, "No, I cannot be like this." I feel that I have to fulfill my purposes of coming to Canada. I feel encouraged — [My main goal was to improve] English... but not just English, after I came here, other than English, I learned so many things spiritually. — My friends wrote that here in Canada I can study English, but also I can absorb various things. At first, I thought that's not true, my purpose of study abroad was English. But now I think it is absolutely wrong. After I came here, I began to appreciate my friends [in Japan] for the first time in my life, and also I feel thankful to my parents. When I read letters from my friends saying that they wanted to go [to study abroad] but they couldn't because their parents did not allow them, I realize I really owe my parents this opportunity that I have now. (Int. 1-1-6/8) As they became accustomed to the new living situation and became busy with their academic and social lives, the amount of communication with people in Japan gradually decreased (Int. 1-2-8/7, Int. 4-2-6/7). Kana said her friends in Japan seemed to have become busy with their own lives in December and therefore, the number of letters exchanged with them gradually decreased. Sayo noticed the change in the content of letters from her friends in Japan and said they started writing more about themselves instead of giving her advice or encouragement (Int. 1-2-8/7). Hana said through her letter exchange with her friends 158 in Japan, she enjoyed observing what was going on among her friends from the distance, which she had never done before (Int. 2-6-10). In the second term, Tae said the lives of her friends in Japan seemed to be changing a lot more than her life in Canada. She felt as if time in her life had stopped after coming to Canada (Int. 5-4-7). Tae's observation was also shared by some of the other students, especially after March. They said their friends in Japan were about to go through a big change in their lives because they graduated from the college and would start working in April (Int. 3-5-12/13, Int. 1-5-15). Contrary to their situation at the beginning of their sojourn, these students began to receive letters for their friends in Japan in which they expressed the mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety upon their transition to non-student lives (PC. 03/97). For most of the students, being away from their close friends in Japan was a sad experience, but it gave them an opportunity to appreciate the friendships they had established with those individuals. Letters and presents their friends sent from Japan gave the students strength to cope with problems in the new environment. Support from their friends in Japan also gave the students assurance they had people to count on and places to return to after their sojourn abroad. Participating in the PREA program also became an opportunity for the Japanese students to reflect on their relationships with their families. Soon after they started living by themselves, many of them began to realize how much their mothers contributed to their households and to taking care of children. In October, Kana and F-san mentioned they were amazed with themselves because they were surviving in Canada without their families' support (RJ. 15/10/96). Nami and Kana pointed out that their relationships with their families became more positive after they came to Canada. They both thought it was due to the geographical distance they had with their parents (Int. 3-1-6, Int. 3-6-12, Int. 4-6-9). At the end of the program, one student wrote that she personally grew through her study abroad experience because she managed to live in a foreign country away from her parents (the Last Student Essay, 05/97). Most students also began to realize the amount of care and support their parents had given them throughout their 159 lives, and especially their parents' effort to let their daughters have the study abroad experience. In April, Sayo again mentioned her feelings toward her parents in her interview: I am truly thankful to my parents, (laugh) ... I feel grateful. And I think I'm still depending on them. While we are in Canada, our parents have often sent us things such as [Japanese] food, and I often got those packages, too, but now I think I didn't really need them, (laugh) I thought once I'm in Canada, I shouldn't expect to have Japanese stuff. (Int. 1-6-14) Sayo said one way of showing her appreciation toward her parents while becoming independent was to reimburse her parents for the cost of her study abroad (Int. 1-6-15). There were a few other students who felt similarly, that getting jobs and establishing financial independence was the best way to change their relationships with their parents. Tae did not have much correspondence with her family while she was in Canada, but she always mentioned her close relationship with her family in her monthly interviews. In the last interview, she said although she had dreams she wanted to pursue, she first wanted to find a job and reduce her parents' financial and emotional burden (Int. 5-6-18). She also said she wanted to have more communication with her family after returning to Japan: MS: You said you were depending on your parents when you were in Japan. Tae: Yeah...you know...yes, to some extent, in my everyday life... I think I was depending on them. MS: Do you think you will change that attitude after going back to Japan? Tae: Oh yes, I'll change. I didn't do much household work before but I will probably help out. After I tried to do things for myself here, I kind of realized how hard it is. — [When I was in Japan,] I used to have a very different lifestyle, so I hardly saw my family and didn't talk to them much. I want to change that after I go back to Japan. I want to communicate with my parents more often. — -1 used to spend my time and money only for my own enjoyment, but I want to find different kinds of enjoyment, how can I say, my own time, I want to have quality time in my life. (Int. 5-6-9/10) To some extent, nine months of living abroad made the Japanese students realize the taken-for-granted benefit they had received from their parents and re-examined their relationships with their families. This reflective thinking also psychologically prepared some of the students for gaining an independent adult lifestyle upon their graduation from the college. 160 The Japanese Students in the Group All the fifteen students in the PREA program anticipated some positive and negative consequences of living and studying abroad as members of the program with the other Japanese students. The first positive aspect of coming to Canada as a group was that some of them could use the arrangement of the program as a tool to convince their parents to allow them to study abroad. While for some students, getting along with the other Japanese students was more challenging than making friends with Canadian students. The strong student support system established amongst themselves over the nine months of their sojourn helped most of them overcome their difficulties (the Last Student Essay, 05/97). For example, for those students who did not experience homesickness while in Canada, having the other Japanese students around allowed them to express their feelings in their own language. One student also mentioned she was glad her friends in the program took care of her when she became sick in Canada (Friendship Questionnaire 03/97). Spending a lot of time together and sharing their worries and concerns in their everyday lives made most of the students in the group feel close to one other and allowed them to develop intimate friendships with one another. In February, many of the students pointed out that their friendships in the program were different from the ones they had with their friends in Japan. They perceived their new friendships as far more profound and significant than their other friendships. These students considered each other as 'a life-long friend' or 'almost a family member' with whom they would maintain their close association for the rest of their lives (Friendship Questionnaire, 03/97). Most of the Japanese students became satisfied with their new friendships within the group, but they were also aware of challenges mamtaining a positive relationship among all group members. Almost all the students admitted it was hard for them to get along with everyone in the group due to some personality differences. In the relatively closed environment of the program, students could not turn their faces away from individuals with whom they did not get along. They had to learn ways to deal with these individuals while mamtaining an appropriate relationship with them. PREA students who had interpersonal 161 problems throughout their sojourn, later perceived their situations as opportunities to learn how to deal with difficult people. Some of the students also mentioned being with a group of Japanese students was not helpful for the development of their English. They said they spoke far too much Japanese throughout their sojourn (the Last Student Essay, 05/97). They also relied on the other students in the program when they had difficulties communicating with their instructors or Canadian students on their floors. Since they used both Japanese and English as modes of communication in their daily lives, some of the students became confused switching from one language to another and felt their abilities in both languages were deteriorating. Nevertheless, most PREA students were satisfied with the relationships they established with the other students and have maintained their friendships back in Japan (PC. 03/98). Personal Changes during Study Abroad All of the six key informants considered their study abroad time a positive experience. For example, Sayo thought the study abroad experience gave her a more positive attitude. She said she used to be a very pessimistic person with a narrow perspective. People around her, especially her father had often pointed out these character traits to her, but Sayo had never thought deeply about it until she came to Canada (Int. 1-4-11/12, Int. 1-5-14). However, after she began to compare herself with the other Japanese students, she came to realize the negative aspects of being pessimistic. It's pretty easy to pick out the pessimists in this group. Looking at them, I realized that no matter what you do, if you think negatively, then nothing would advance. You can see that clearly with your own eyes. If someone thinks in a negative way, then obviously the end result won't be good. It was hard to become aware of such things while in Japan because I was a person with a narrow perspective. Besides, I wasn't the kind of person who would change her attitude once her parents told her to.... I think it was great that I could meet people other than my parents while in Canada. (Int. 1-4-12/13) Moreover, her association with people outside of the program enabled her to learn about different ways of thinking. Her extended social network helped her broaden her perspective. In the interviews during the second term, Sayo mentioned as follows: When I lived in Japan, I felt I wasn't too open minded about a lot of things but after coming to Canada, I've developed an interest in many things and realized how important this was. I've stopped thinking negatively towards a lot of things and find myself talking to a lot more people and 162 understand that everyone has their own thoughts. The people I've met are very hard working and I must admit this has influenced me somewhat to try just as hard. — I suppose that by talking and meeting with Gaijin over here, it has changed my mentality somewhat little by little over time as opposed to a sudden change. These changes sort of happened naturally without any effort on my part so I feel okay about it. (Int. 1-6-3, Int. 1-4-12) This change in attitude allowed Sayo to become more independent from the other Japanese students. Especially after the homestay, Sayo began to do more things by herself without asking someone in the group to accompany her (Int. 1-4-11, 1-5-12/13). In addition, she started to look forward to going back home where she could try different strategies for her job hunting instead of worrying about possible failure (Int. 1-4-12/13). Hana realized a slight change in herself in the early period of her study abroad. In the first and second interviews, she mentioned how she had reflected on herself after coming to Canada. MS: Do you feel you've changed over the two and a half months since arriving here in Canada? Hana: I feel as though I've become a little stronger minded. To be able to say "I don't want to" when I don't and refrain from doing things that I don't want to do. This is probably quite normal for most people but I was never capable of doing this before and so being able to now has changed me. (Int. 2-1-5) MS: During the three months that you've been here, do you think you've changed? Hana: Maybe not me personally but the way I think perhaps. I feel myself expressing myself more and putting myself first instead of others as I used to. I used to think, "This person wants this done" so I felt the responsibility to do it for them. I never thought of having things done for me but rather, if I felt that someone needed something done, then I felt obligated to help that person out. (Int. 2-2-5) In the second term Hana started the 'Language Exchange' lesson together with B-san. Her friendship with B-san and her involvement in the language exchange dramatically expanded her social network and changed her feelings about her life in Canada. The problem she had with B-san in March seemed overahelming to her at first, but Hana continued to make efforts to enjoy her sojourn life until May. After resolving her problem with B-san, she became even more assertive and independent. In the last interview, she said she had no regrets about her study abroad. Even the difficult times turned into good memories for her (Int. 2-6-4). She said proudly: When I think about my study abroad experience, there is no feeling of regret because I'm fully satisfied with everything. f guess if I were to cry right now, I would cry because I'm very happy to have done everything that I wanted to do here. I would cry not because I have something that I should have done differently, but because I really feel happy with everything I've done. (Int. 2-6-8/9) In contrast to Sayo and Hana, Nami did not feel a dramatic change in herself during her sojourn. For Nami, the study abroad was rather an opportunity to postpone her job hunting and ihink about alternatives for her future (Int. 3-6-20). Also it was an opportunity for her to confront the challenges posed by living in a different culture. While she was content with her life in Canada for the most part, she struggled to improve her English and develop friendships with Canadian students (Int. 3-2-21). From the beginning of the program, these two issues had been her major concerns. In the earlier interviews, she mentioned the pressure she felt about being in the Japanese group: Nami: I feel a difference with those students in the English Literature department. They have subjects like pronunciation, yes, a lot of subjects. I suppose that I'm learning grammar but I wonder if there were any real English courses during the two years that I've studied [at the college]. I guess this is where I feel the difference. It's not that I'm dissatisfied but I sort of feel rushed. When I see someone [in our group] talking [in English] to someone else on our floor, I think to myself, "Why can't I talk like that." MS: I guess you can't help comparing yourself with the others because you guys came here as a group. Nami: Yeah, we do compare. Aside from that type of "communication" [problems], I find it very enjoyable. I've been able to make friends with the other Japanese students and that's very good (Int. 3-1-14/21/22). MS: [It's February and] I guess you're anticipating the end. Nami: We're all aware of this "last spurt." Or maybe it's only me. To make even one friend over the course of time, that would be nice but it's easier said than done. (Int. 3-4-16) As she reflected on herself while in Canada, Nami began to see some positive and negative aspects of her personality. She explained: Nami: If I were to pinpoint something about my personality that I didn't like, I would have to say that it's the envy that I have for other people. MS: You do compare then. Nami: I know I have to rid myself of this, especially since I'm here in Canada. Maybe it's not "comparing" really but the thought of envying other people. I know this is bad but I start thinking such things before I know it. But you know, I've learned to recover quickly from bad incidents and I'm quite happy about that. If something sad or something I didn't like happened, I'm able to rebound from it easily just like the Canadian students. In the past, I would let something like that go on and on and the more I thought about it, the gloomier everything became. The more I dwelled on something, the harder it became to let it out. (Int. 3-4-19) 164 Besides this self-reflection, her study abroad experience made her realize that foreigners are in no way 'special' people. After she found out that she had so much in common with the Canadians, her initial fear disappeared even though the language barrier between them persisted (Int. 3-6-19). Toward the end of the program, Nami finally felt she had become close to Canadian students, and therefore, was very sad to leave Canada (Int. 3-6-4/14). Kana experienced considerable emotional upheaval during her sojourn. She was suffering from minor depression in November due to her limited communication ability and lack of self-confidence. Her Christmas homestay helped her regain confidence in herself while using more English. In the second term, her emotional well-being further improved as she actively socialized with Canadian students in her dormitory. Kana even noticed that the Canadian students interacted more with her than with the other Japanese students on her floor (Int. 4-4-11). While she was not sure why the Canadian students were friendly to her, she certainly felt good about it. The positive attitude of the Canadian students toward her even made Kana think that her personality had changed (Int. 4-6-4). She said she used to be considered a cold person and that she was not a type of person who would approach someone to chat. Before coming to Canada, Kana had believed that Canadians would think of her in the same way. Thus, the warm, caring attitude of Canadian friends in the dormitory was a big surprise for her (Int. 4-4-15). Regarding this change in her attitude, she said: I myself am very introverted and would not speak to others until I was spoken to. It wasn't that I intentionally did that but now, I can ask my [Canadian] friends when they would leave the dorm, how their exams went, etc. I've been very fortunate in how everyone over here takes good care of me and worries about me. Back home, no one really cared for me and they actually used to comment on how cold I was. I guess that there's been a change in my character in that respect. — I don't think that I brought about this change in me but rather those around me would take the time to talk with me and I would respond to them. No, it wasn't the effort on my part and I don't think that it was spontaneous either. — I guess the people around me got worried somewhat and started to talk to me...yes, probably that's what happened, (int. 4-6-3/4/5) Kana thought having become friends with Canadian students was the biggest achievement in her study abroad (Int. 4-6-5/6). For her, life in Canada was: Although my English has deteriorated since the time I was living at the homestay, I must say that my life in Canada certainly has been the happiest time of my life. I'm doing what I want to do and 165 hrnm... I guess you might say I felt as though my life was complete and fulfilled everyday.... well, maybe not everyday but there were a lot of happy moments. (Int. 4-5-13) Tae stressed the importance of her friendship with the other Japanese students as well as her friends in Japan in the interviews throughout her sojourn (Int. 5-2-10, Int. 5-4-7/8/9, Int. 5-5-15, Int. 5-5-18). While she often had to deal with the in-group problems of the Japanese group, she received much respect and support from most of the other Japanese students. Tae was very happy she developed great friendships with some of the Japanese students during her sojourn (Int. 5-4-7). Similarly, being away from her friends in Japan for the first time, Tae began to recognize the value of her friendships at home. She also frequently reflected on her sojourn experience in Canada. Comparing her life in the first term and the second term, she said: After just spending a few months in Canada, [in November interview,] I think I sensed the gap between Japan and Canada more than now. Maybe I say that because I've grown accustomed to Canada a little more and I find myself having less reaction to things than I did then. My environment...things around me have more or less settled down so I find myself becoming less startled at things. Yes, I think I've grown quite used to it all in a good way. (Int. 5-4-1) Tae also noticed that her value system had been affected by her sojourn experience (Int. 5-4-6, Int. 5-5-1, Int. 5-5-15). Although she did not give me any specific example, Tae said new experiences in the new situation challenged the value system she had brought from Japan, and she occasionally absorbed new ways of thinking to adjust her former value system. Tae thought through her study abroad she was learning not only English but also something which would help her personal development (Int. 5-5-15). In April, she was amazed at how quickly time had passed. Looking back at her life in Canada, she said: Tae: I don't want to go home. I think it's because of the easy life here. When I say easy, it's like when I mentioned at the re-entry workshop, it's somewhat like being in a dream world. Although I have to go back, I wish that I didn't have to. It all seemed too fast and it came to an end before I realized. Even after one month arriving here, I sensed that everything was moving quite quickly but perhaps it was feelings that were moving fast. I really wish that I could stay a little longer... yes, I wish I could. Although I say that I wish I could stay longer, I feel that it's taken me this long to get used to being here. Finally being able to get used to the environment and lifestyle here and also being able to set my own pace, yes, I think it was quite easy for me to get used to living here. MS: Was it worth coming here and spending eight months of your time? Tae: Yes I think it was worth it. I think it was and now that I look back, I think it was a very special time for me in very many ways. — It's changed me and in ways that I think were very important. During my studies here, I feel as though my whole environment had changed and I have a lot of time to think about things. — There's time to think about my future and how I must persevere and what 166 to do when I return home. — Will the flow seek out my destiny? I was able to think and observe as I wanted here, but that will all change when I go back I'm sure. Maybe I'm running away from the thought of going back by saving that I don't want to, but I guess it's as a result of all the special memories I have of living here. — When I think back to the time before coming over to study, I think my disposition and thinking have both changed. — I was actually able to see my personality after coming here and I feel it was a real plus to be able to do this. There's less of the "I don't care" attitude that I had before. I suppose you could say I've become more "positive" or "forward thinking.'' I never really had the time to think about myself before. — In university, all you had to do was to get through the tests so it was a real, "I don't care" type of attitude. It was that kind of thinking that I wanted to change in myself, and so I came over here, and it worked out well. To be able to have my own time was incredible. Yes, a lot had changed for me and with this change in outlook, I've been able to focus in on my own values. (Int. 5-6-5/6/8/9) Yuki noticed that she became more active and assertive during her sojourn abroad. Although she did not think her personality had changed dramatically, she began to express herself more in the second term. She also began to talk with Canadian students more often compared to November (Int. 6-4-4/8/9, 6-6-4). Yuki thought living in the foreign environment was fun compared to living in Japan because things were new and different. She described her feeling by saying: When I'm in Japan, everything is done through Japanese, which is normal. But when I'm here, I have to speak English, and I feel like living in a whole different world and to be able to be a part of that is wonderful. But if I spoke [English] better, it would be more interesting and fun. But then I also think if I were fluent in English, I would have wanted something different, (int. 6-5-11/12) Towards the end of her sojourn, Yuki evaluated her study abroad experience by comparing her sojourn life with her life in Japan. She said: Yuki: There were a few situations that came about, especially regarding the interpersonal issues, but I tend to only remember the good times so, all in all, I can say I had a good time. MS: Did you find these past eight months relaxing? Yuki: Yes it was relaxing, probably due to not being under the watchful eyes of my parents. MS: So you had your freedom? Yuki: Yes, I think everyone was able to experience this freedom, (laugh) MS: Were you able to do things as you pleased? Yuki: Yes, but not in the same way as when I went out in Japan but when I think about it, I had a lot of freedom here. MS: Weren't there a lot of things that you had to do for yourself given that your parents were not around? Like for example, looking after things around you like your mother used to. 167 Yuki: I admit my room is a mess! From time to time I did clean up but I do agree it is pretty messy. You know what though, I've discovered that I'm capable of doing my own laundry. MS: Did you have problems at the beginning? Yuki: No, not really problems since I knew how to operate a washing machine and fold laundry. I had never done the entire laundry process like I had to here on my own. It's really exciting being on your own and having to care from yourself. I want to live by myself now. (Int. 6-6-5/6) In Chapter 4 and this chapter, I described different aspects of the sojourner experiences of the PREA participants as determined from their interview data and my casual participant-observation as assistant coordinator / researcher. While each individual had her own unique experience during her study abroad, there were some commonalties in their experiences as they mutually influenced each other's life through everyday interactions. In the following chapter, I will examine the students' experiences with relation to theories and research findings in the literature I reviewed in Chapter 2. I will also propose some recommendations to practitioners of the study abroad program based on my interpretation of the PREA students' experiences. 168 C H A P T E R 6 : ANALYSIS O F T H E FINDINGS The purpose of this study was to understand the sojourn experiences of the Japanese students in the PREA program from their perspectives. As described in Chapter 2,1 reviewed the selected literature at the outset of the fieldwork and adopted a number of propositions to outline the theoretical framework of the study. In Chapter 3,1 explained the methodological orientation of the study, along with the procedures used in the fieldwork. I also described the context of the study abroad experience for the participants and gave brief individual profiles of the fifteen students taking part in the PREA program. In Chapter 4 and 5, I used a chronological structure to present an ethnographic account of the everyday lives of the students' sojourn in Canada, especially of their lives in their university dormitory and their relationships with people around them. This account reflects the subjective dimension of the students' experiences focusing on their emotional reactions to and reflections on various events. In this chapter, I will examine the students' experiences using the theoretical propositions presented in Chapter 2. Specifically, I will investigate the nature of the PREA students' sojourn from three perspectives: (1) cultural adaptation / learning processes, (2) outcomes of study abroad experience, and (3) education through study abroad programs. It is worth noting that since none of the published studies examined the experiences of the student sojourners in the context of a particular study abroad program, I could not directly compare the findings of this study with other research studies. Study Abroad as a Cultural Adaptation / Learning Process Purposes for Studying Abroad Klineberg (1981b) suggests that foreign students typically state the following reasons for studying abroad: to acquire academic ability, to obtain foreign degrees, and / or to satisfy their curiosity. Similarly, as laid out in Chapter 1, the majority of young Japanese people seem to go abroad in order to increase their foreign language proficiency and gain different experiences in other cultures (Kato, 1992). The PREA students in this study were no exception. Two major reasons students participated in the PREA program were to improve their English, especially their oral communication ability, and to have new and exciting 169 experiences in a foreign country. While the idea of living abroad induced some anxiety, most PREA students had positive expectations toward their new lives in Canada upon their departure. Cross-Cultural Transition and Stressful Experiences As in the case of many people moving to foreign countries, the Japanese students had to make a number of adjustments after they began their sojourn lives in Canada. These adjustments ranged from getting used to everyday food in the dormitory cafeteria to overcoming the loneliness that came with being away from home. Here, the concepts of "cultural fatigue" (Guthrie, 1975), "language shock" (Smalley, 1963), and "role shock" (Byrnes, 1966 in Church 1982) seem appropriate to describe the situations of the lives of the Japanese students during the first few months in the new environment. Guthrie (1975) describes "cultural fatigue" as being caused by constant minute adjustment required for everyday function in a foreign culture. For example, the long-distance relocation caused some students some physical stress at the beginning of their sojourn such as loss of appetite, constipation, and insomnia, which in turn brought them psychological strain. Apart from the stress of physical adjustment, many students became frustrated with their incompetence in the new setting because they had to seek assistance with minor things such as buying shampoos or using telephone cards. The adjustment to the cafeteria food and western style washroom facilities in the dormitory caused further discomfort to some of the students. The initial experiences of cultural fatigue were similar for the students participating in the PREA program in 1997-1998 academic year. Having to use English was another major source of frustration for most of the Japanese students, especially during the first few months in Canada. Despite their expectations that the immersion in an English speaking environment would automatically make them fluent in English (see also Freed, 1995), most of them were shocked when they realized their lack of communication abilities. This realization brought them a feeling of impotence in the new environment which Oberg (1960) described as one of the common forms of culture shock. This shock could be explained more specifically with Smalley's (1963) notion of "language shock" which is a frustration resulting from the sojourner's inability to engage in 170 verbal communication with the local people. Since their language development did not proceed as smoothly as they had hoped, many students continued to be frustrated with the progress they made in each month, especially during the first term of the program. In this study, the Japanese students' English communication abilities seemed to play an important role in the development of their friendships with Canadian peers and the processes of their integration to the dormitory community. Sudweeks, Gudykunst, Ting-toomey, and Nishida (1990) found communication competence as one of the key factors for the development of the interpersonal relationships between Japanese and North Americans. In their study, all the Japanese and North American pairs communicated in English and therefore, limited second language ability among the Japanese partners was reported as a major constraint for the development of their intimacy. One of the Japanese participants in their study mentioned: I cannot speak enough to communicate with [North] Americans. I feel I cannot be a friend, (in Sudweeks et al., 1990, p. 215) Many of the Japanese students in this study made similar comments about their relationships with Canadian students on their floors and expressed their frustration with their inability to have regular conversations with their Canadian peers. This was especially evident during the first term when they struggled most with their second language development. Academic course work also became a main cause of psychological stress for the Japanese students, partly because of their limited language proficiency and the large academic work load, but also because of the differences in academic cultures between the two education systems. For example, even though the Japanese students understood the importance of class participation in their course work, it took them a while before they were able to express their ideas in front of the other students or actively ask questions of their instructors. This was mainly because they were not used to frequent interactions with teachers in the classrooms or the discussion-oriented learning. Contrasting the student's role in classrooms in two cultures, Becker (1990) describes the typical situation in the university classroom in Japan: ... [T]he teacher is the authority, and students are simply expected to follow and absorb as much of the information as they can. Course grades, tend to be based largely on exams at the end of the year..., 171 and class participation, if required at all, is more in terms of answering the professor's directed questions than in originating one's own questions and hypotheses, (p.430) Some of the difficulties Japanese students encountered in the North American educational setting reflect the notion of "role shock" which Byrnes (1966 in Church, 1982) describes as stress caused by the gap between the role one is expected to play in one's cultural norms and the role requirements in a new culture. As time progressed, the students gradually learned the new roles they were expected to play in the new academic setting and became capable of giving oral class presentations and taking part in class discussions. Although the participants of this study did not seem to recognize the change in their attitude as students, I consider this change an important aspect of the cultural adaptation they went through during their sojourn in Canada. In addition to the differences in academic cultures of the two education systems, differences in the general attitude toward academic work between Japanese and North American college students may provide an explanation for the reason why most of the PREA students had to struggle with their academic courses. Comparing college enrollment statistics between the United States and Japan, Becker (1990) states that approximately 55% of high school graduates in the United States go on to college, but only about 32% stay to complete a four-year degree program. I