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ERIC Number: ED518315
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 271
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-3934-3
Between Two Languages and Two Worlds: Identity of Korean Early Study-Abroad Undergraduates in the U.S
Lee, Mun Woo
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Along with "English fever" (Krashen, 2003) in South Korea, the number of Korean students in the U.S. has increased every year so that they are now the largest group of international students in the U.S. Among those Korean students in the U.S, the early study-abroad group is particularly noteworthy because they share the unique experience of having left Korea apart from their families during their elementary and/or secondary school years for educational purposes. This study aims to examine how Korean early study-abroad undergraduates have formed their identity based on their early study-abroad experiences in terms of their first and second language-mediated social contexts as well as their first and second languages. The data were personal narrative, individual interviews with 22 Korean early study-abroad undergraduates, and focus-group interactions among four focal participants. The collected data were first analyzed using narrative approach (Bell, 2002), grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), and critical discourse analysis (Gee, 2005), and then integrated from a critical perspective based on the themes of ethnicity, class, and English (Boyatzis, 1998). I was able to assume an insider perspective because I shared many characteristics with my participants and could realize that the question "Who am I?" gets more complex for those who live in multiple social contexts and who speak two different languages fluently. Born in South Korea but growing up in the U.S, Korean early study-abroad students struggle with their identities. They position themselves "in-between" two cultures and this between-ness is the most distinctive common characteristic of their identities. As the individual stories of the four focal participants showed, they seem to go through a continuous trial and error period to test who they are and where they might fit. However, their in-between-ness means more than being connected to both Korea and America or hybridizing Korean and American Discourses (Gee, 1996). Considering that they are transnational elites who cross the borders freely, they (including myself) are in a position to be cosmopolitans who can take advantage of the between-ness, becoming keen critics of dominant cultures in both contexts, and potential social activists who can take actions for social justice. In short, the experience of early study-abroad should be understood not just in terms of English as second language learning, but as a process by which learners develop social awareness in multiple language-related contexts that can lead them beyond their own circumscribed world of elitism to a position of responsibility for sharing what they experience and understand for the benefit of society. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Korea; United States