Date of Award

6-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Leigh A. Ford

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Wong

Third Advisor

Dr. Mark P. Orbe

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Joseph M. Kayany

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This research focuses on international students in the United States by examining their experiences and interactions as sojourners. Specifically, I explore international students' dialectics within their experiences and interactions in the host culture. Referring to existing concepts from relational dialectics theory (e.g., Baxter & Braithwaite, 2008; Baxter &Montgomery, 1996) and the six cultural dialectics (Martin & Nakayama, 1999, 2011), dialectics are the opposing, competing, but co existing notions or tensions. Eleven international students from 10 different countries participated in face-to-face interviews and follow up e-mail responses. By conducting a thorough thematic analysis (Aronson, 1994), six cultural dialectics, one relational dialectic, and additional dialectic were identified in the international students' stories. International students reflected back and forth between the opposing forces, and reshaped their perceptions toward others and the world. In the discussion, further insights about international students' dialectics are described: the emergent nature of dialectics, meanings that international students gained from their dialectical experiences, the discourses represented in their dialectics, and the possible contributions for the existing theoretical concepts of cultural dialectics.

Share

COinS