NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ930302
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-0897-5264
American Identity in Study Abroad Students: Contrasts, Changes, Correlates
Savicki, Victor; Cooley, Eric
Journal of College Student Development, v52 n3 p339-349 May-Jun 2011
People who encounter a foreign culture face many challenges in the process of adjusting and adapting to it. For those who remain in contact with that culture over time, such as study abroad students, the adjustment demands may occur on many different levels. This article focuses on the cognitive level, particularly the students' social identification as American. An important aspect of study abroad students' social identification is rooted in how they define themselves with regard to their sense of belonging to and preference for the country from which they embark on their study abroad. National identity (in the case of this study, American identity) has implications both for student well-being and their potential ability to adjust to a foreign culture. In this study, the authors contrast the level, configuration, and change of American identity in study abroad students compared to those students who remained at home to clarify how this specific form of social identification fits within the broader nomological net of concepts that impact both college student development and study abroad. The authors conclude that American identity is a useful construct that taps the social identification level of intercultural adjustment. Their findings indicate that social identification may be some combination of affect and cognition rather than cognition alone. Of immediate relevance to international educators and student advisors is the finding that study abroad students do not necessarily cognitively reflect on their American identity while abroad; or at least they do not recognize that reflection. For most university-aged study abroad students, American identity can be seen as an important component in the process of identity resolution. Because of its disruptive effects, study abroad can act as a catalyst for reexamination and refinement of psychological identity. National and cultural identity play an important role in the overall social identification process. (Contains 3 tables.)
Johns Hopkins University Press. 2715 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. Tel: 800-548-1784; Tel: 410-516-6987; Fax: 410-516-6968; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Austria; Greece; Italy; Spain; United States
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Brief Symptom Inventory