Who am i : reconstructing cultural identity upon reentry
OppiaineIntercultural Communication (maisteriohjelma)Master's Degree Programme in Intercultural Communication
The topic of this thesis is reentry adaptation and its effects on an individual’s cultural identity. The purpose of the study is to find out what kinds of problems may arrive during reentry adaptation, how identity is changed as a result of intercultural experiences, as well as what kinds of communication strategies help the entire adaptation process. The aim of the study is to examine what kinds of factors should be taken into account during reentry in order to make it easier on the returnees. In addition the aim is to investigate how individuals are able to comprehend their new cultural identity and in which ways they are able to communicate the possible changes to friends and family at home. The research was conducted using a qualitative open-ended questionnaire that was sent to a sample of 15 participants who have lived abroad for a minimum of three months and have returned back to Finland. The resulting 10 responses were then examined using inductive content analysis. The results of the questionnaire were presented according to the themes set out in the research questions; reentry adaptation, cultural identity, and communication strategies. The research showed that most participants felt that their identity had changed as a result of the time abroad. Most of the difficulties during reentry were caused by the lack of interest and understanding received from loved ones. Furthermore, participants felt out of place at home, as well as some recalled struggling with finding a balance with their new cultural identity and their old home culture. Finally the research also showed that effective communication with family and friends was one of the key factors that eased the reentry adaptation process. Also, being able to share the experiences with visiting family members abroad was valuable to some participants.
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