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Korean diaspora in the age of globalization: early study abroad (ESA) college students in the Midwest

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Title: Korean diaspora in the age of globalization: early study abroad (ESA) college students in the Midwest
Author(s): Choi, Hee Young
Director of Research: Pak, Yoon Kyung
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Harris, Violet J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Pak, Yoon Kyung; Abelmann, Nancy A.; Möller, Karla J.; DeNicolo, Christina P.
Department / Program: Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline: Secondary & Continuing Educ
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Higher Education Internationalization of Higher Education Transition to Higher Education Early Study Abroad Students Migration
Abstract: This study examines the unique experiences of international Korean college students in the Midwest who have gone through the early study abroad (ESA) period in the US during their formative secondary school education and the influence of the experiences into their college lives in the mega campus. Two overarching research questions are: 1) how do international Korean college students retrospect their ESA experiences? And 2) how do their ESA experiences place them in unique and critical ways in their transition period into the US higher education, particularly at Midwestern University (MU)? According to the narratives of the participants, there was a potentially hostile climate for international students who experienced discrimination and segregation for the first time. A “Chilly Climate” of campus environment is not new in the US. As Smith (1989) points out, many studies suggest “some campus environments are chillier than welcoming, more alienating than involving, more hostile than encouraging” (p. 20). Without the understanding of this newly emerging group of students, the slogan of internationalization will be “out of sync with the reality” as Ewell (1998) states, and the Korean ESA students would be easily lost within the system of US higher education. “Case Narrative” method was applied to acquire a thorough knowledge of the daily lives of the participants, their motivation and experiences of ESA, and the way they constructed, and continue to construct, their socio-cultural lives in a US university. Five Korean college students participated in this study. The results revealed that the Korean ESA students experienced not only a severe sense of isolation and loneliness, but a power structure from the host family they lived with and the main stream students of US high schools or colleges. When the participants encountered the power of race and the English speaking people during their secondary school days in the US they kept silent to avoid problems, disregarding their right to speak and seeking a resolution. Later, on the US campus, the only adaptive strategy the students selected was proactive response to the outer context that was aloof toward international students. It was creating a strong bond with only other Korean international students to make secure their own culture, emotion, and the feeling of solidarity. In this sense, the solidarity of Korean ESA students was involuntary, but at the same time, self-segregation. The significant contribution of this study was that it enhanced the understanding of Korean ESA college students, documenting their detailed life experiences during their ESA period and college years in this global era.
Issue Date: 2012-09-18
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Hee Young Choi
Date Available in IDEALS: 2012-09-18
Date Deposited: 2012-08

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