Understanding the development of intercultural sensitivity through study abroad : a narrative study of Vietnamese students in Finnish higher education
|Author:||Le Thi Thanh, Hien1|
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
|Online Access:||PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)|
|Persistent link:|| http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201706022381
H. Le Thi Thanh,
|Publish Date:|| 2017-06-05
|Thesis type:||Master's thesis
International student mobility is becoming increasingly more popular across the globe because of its significant benefits to language learning, cultural awareness and career development. Study abroad is one kind of international student mobility, and my research mainly focuses on degree mobility. The Vietnamese context shows that an increasing number of students yearly yearn to study abroad for a degree to achieve a better higher education and develop their professional career in the near future. Study abroad can have a huge impact on students’ life, but there are limited studies on Vietnamese students’ lived experiences and how they adjust themselves to the host country.
This thesis, at a glance, explores the cultural differences that Vietnamese students in Finnish university encounter, among the Finnish society. The research participants are given an opportunity to express their own story in living abroad and presenting their own observation of similarities and differences between Vietnamese culture and Finnish culture. This is a narrative research, using narrative interviews with three Vietnamese students who have studied or are currently studying in University of Oulu, Finland. The main goal of this research is to understand how Vietnamese student are able to develop their intercultural sensitivity in a new living environment. Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) and the concept of frame of reference from Transformative Learning Theory will be employed to comprehend their narratives and explain the possibility of their development and intercultural sensitivity.
The influence of cultural context on the development of intercultural sensitivity will also be carefully considered in my study, especially the difference in thinking patterns between the East and the West. The cultural background from each research participant is also accounted for my research, in order to bring a holistic understanding of the participants’ origin and their ‘frames of reference’. The holistic analysis from Lieblich et al. (1998) will be implemented in the research to bring in well-rounded insights of the Vietnamese students’ lived experience. Each of research participants’ stories will be attentively interpreted using different patterns of thinking presented in The geography of thought from Nisbett (2003).
In conclusion, this thesis considers how Vietnamese students obtain the development of intercultural sensitivity in their host country (Finland) through the lens of DMIS and the concept of frame of reference with careful attention to both the context of home and host country. This thesis also contributes to a current research agenda of international education from a seemingly neglected aspect: Vietnamese perspective on study abroad.
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