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ERIC Number: ED568072
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 138
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3395-2008-7
Cross-Cultural Adaptation in the Discourse of Education and Motherhood: An Autoethnography of a Korean International Graduate Student Mother in the United States
Chung, Yunjeong
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
This study explores the cross-cultural adaption experience of myself as a Korean graduate student woman coming from a Confucian-heritage culture. The study focuses on the multiple roles I played as an Asian graduate student mother in the host cultural environment and the way I have undergone throughout the process of my adaptation. As a research method, this study adopted autoethnographic way of writing while using cartoons as a way of representing main themes. Drawing upon discourse and ideologies about Confucian values and gender roles, this dissertation aims to investigate how those discourses and ideologies impact on my life living as a marginalized figure. The main research questions explored in this study were as follows: (1) What does it mean for a Korean graduate student mother to have a cross-cultural adaptation experience and how did I deal with some challenges and conflicts?, (2) How does my cross-cultural mothering experience contribute to the general understanding of feminism in the context of a diverse society?, and (3) How does my cross-cultural adaptation experience contribute to the general understanding on expatriates in the context of a diverse society? As an international student coming from a Confucian-heritage culture, I found myself feeling uncomfortable with the non-power distance cultural aspects represented in American university; I made adaptive changes in attitudes during class, in addition to different student-faculty interactions, which seemed to require less obedience from the students and more active communication. My status as an international student was also a crucial factor influencing my decision about the timing of motherhood. Studying and becoming a mother in a foreign country would mean a double burden of childcare and study while living far away from home without possible familial support available. Thus, I could not help but worry about becoming a mother while in graduate school in the host culture. As a mother coming from a different culture, I had frequent chances to experience new cultural differences in pregnancy, childbirth, and childrearing. With the deep-rooted Confucian values both I and my family (including my in-laws) have internalized, however, I experienced a huge Confucian influence on my daily life in gender role expectations and parenthood style. With every year, the population of the United States becomes increasingly ethnically diverse, and the number of female graduate students has been increasing as well. And yet, there has been little research on student mothers from different cultures or school policies to accommodate student-parents' needs. Thus, I hope my story offers policy makers, local community members, and other student mothers an insight into the particularities of a student mother of color's lived experiences and a push for changing the culture and climate toward diversity, while also suggest that women themselves need to keep trying to abolish the traditional Confucian patriarchal conceptions of society by transforming their own ways of thinking. Just having a policy is not sufficient to change the climate on campus as well as student mothers' experiences. Rather, mothers of color should try to have agency in their own life and not disconnect from larger social realities. [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:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A