UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Are Canadians more cosmopolitan than Americans? Evidence from study abroad programs Dias, Megan


This thesis examines how cross-boarder contact affects Americans and Canadians. It argues that the specific national identity one has influences how she is affected by interactions with other cultures. It argues that key differences in the American and Canadian identities might influence how individuals from those two countries respond to cross-cultural interactions. Specifically, it argues that the different outlooks Canadians and Americans have towards multiculturalism and the different views they have about their county’s place in the world will influence how individuals from both countries respond to cross-board contact. Canadians, with their support for multiculturalism and the expectation that they should be “good global citizens,” will be more likely to see commonalities between their country and others. They feel more warmly towards, and more trusting of, individuals from other countries. At the same time, they will be less likely to see their country as superior to others. Americans, with their emphasis on assimilation and exceptionalism, will experience the opposite. To test these hypotheses, this thesis employs a natural experiment that measures how Canadian and American students were affected by studying abroad. It looks at how studying abroad changes students’ attitudes towards other countries, as well as their own, and whether these changes are different for Canadians and Americans. Ultimately, it finds little differences in the affects of studying abroad for Canadians and Americans. Studying abroad seems to cause both American and Canadian students to see greater differences between their country and others, and to feel more attached to their country.

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