Communication behaviors of exchange students as perceived by themselves and by their hosts : Japanese students in Finland
Participating in an exchange program abroad has been popular for university students all over the world. Likewise, there have been many studies on exchange students' identities or culture shocks, or their communication behaviors. However, little is known on the communication behaviors of exchange students with viewpoints of the hosts. The purpose of the present study is to examine how Japanese exchange students at the University of Jyväskylä interpret their communication behaviors in relation to their self-construals by combining the views of Japanese exchange students themselves with those of Finnish students as hosts. In addition, another purpose is to find out the function of Nihongo Meeting, which is a combination of Finnish and Japanese students as a host group concerning the life of Japanese exchange students in Jyväskylä. The data collection was conducted qualitatively by interviewing 5 Japanese exchange students and 4 Finnish students in an unstructured interview style. To elicit the flow of communication behaviors, the interviews with Japanese exchange students were conducted twice at the beginning of their stay and again after 3-4 months. To find meaning between and behind the words expressed in the interviews, thematic analysis was used. By breaking down the answers based on three themes, the flow of communication behaviors in a new environment during the limited time emerged. The results of the study show that Japanese exchange students have been accommodating their communication behaviors according to the people around them. Also, the existence of Finnish students in Nihongo Meeting has been of a great help in starting their life in Finland. Yet, it has been distinct that their background culture, such as Confucianism, seems to stay in their behaviors no matter where they are during the limited period of time. ...
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