Cultural Identity reconstruction in the study abroad context: The case of Algerian Sojourners
Global Journal of Foreign Language Teaching
The way individuals define themselves is assumed to be tightly linked to social and cultural values of the environment they are raised in. Yet, identity is not static and forming a cultural identity requires adapting beliefs and practices of one or more cultural communities. Hence, this paper is an attempt to bring the issue of identity construction in question as a result of direct contact with people from different cultures and what it may engender as a change in social, cultural behaviour,
... d positions. The present study investigates the impact of study abroad experience on sojourners' cultural identity. It tries to highlight the nature of the crossing borders experience, and how it strongly contributes to the creation of a new cultural identity. This research work relies on a case study that consists of 25 Algerian students who are actually enrolled in a long-term programme at different universities in the United Kingdom. The data were gathered through the use of both questionnaire and semi-structured interview administered to these sojourners. Then, data were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The findings first display the competencies developed by students while abroad. Second, the study explores how cultural identity is being reconstructed and negotiated during the intercultural communication. Third, the extracts of the study reveal that the sojourners are aware of the cross-cultural adaptation process and they try to cope with the challenges they face as well as avoiding communication breakdowns and misunderstandings. As a result, we contribute to the literature concerning constructing and negotiating identities in different socio-cultural contexts. Key-words: Cultural Identity; Cross-cultural Adaptation; Identity Negotiation; Intercultural Communication; Study Abroad.