The Role of Studying Abroad in Female College Students’ Changing Perception of Self and Other

Claudia Baker


This study examines how studying abroad changes a student’s perception of themselves and their perception of another culture during a semester abroad. I conducted four in-depth interviews of University female students who traveled to four different countries (Italy, England, Spain and France). Each participant shared their experiences about their expectations, misconceptions, and outcomes abroad. Participants were asked to discuss fears, culture shock, how they have changed, how their perceptions on cultures have changed, and future advice for other students. Positive results from the participant’s interviews show that each participant had very different experiences abroad but all experienced some form of change within themselves and how they viewed different cultures. Each participant’s experience showed her a new perspective on herself and on cultures. The study uses Social Constructionism, which is a grounded theory, to interpret the findings between communication and perception of self and of the culture. Overall, this study is an in depth analysis of how fears and culture shock influenced the changed perceptions of self and of culture among my participants.

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