Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:The "Push" Factor of Neoliberalism: East Asian Students at the Intensive English Institute
Author(s):Cheng, Benjamin
Contributor(s):Furukawa, Chie; Choi, Hee Jung
Subject(s):ANTH499 S08
English Education
Abstract:Our project initially began as an inquiry in to how East Asian students at the Intensive English Institute (IEI) gave meaning to their study abroad experiences at the University of Illinois. This generally involved exploring the process by which our interviewees made their decision to pursue study abroad, as they typically expressed, for the most part, a fervent desire for self-development. Mastering English, of course, was central to their hopes. But we surmised that their aspirations were also embedded within larger structures that, in one sense, compelled our interviewees to study abroad by producing that need for self-development. This also tied in to larger structural issues where English is seen as essential for improving employment credentials. We conducted ten interviews with East Asian students at the IEI, mostly Koreans since they compose the majority of the students there. The interviews mostly consisted on one-hour sessions in a one-on-one setting.
Issue Date:2008
Course / Semester:Anth 499, East Asian Youth and Global Futures, Prof. Nancy Abelmann and Prof. Karen Kelsky: East Asian youth have experienced perhaps the world’s most compressed development as well as the world’s most aggressive globalization policies. This course examines how youth in East Asia (China/s, Japan, and the Koreas) are making their way in our globalizing world, focusing in particular on the transformations in work, education, recreation, gender, and sexuality brought about by neoliberal economic restructuring in the region. Topics studied include the insecure job market for young people, consumerism, globalized pop culture phenomena such as Pokemon, the Korean wave, and Internet gaming, emergent LGBT communities, etc. Students are encouraged to focus their research projects on aspects of the U. of I. student life that reflect the experiences of East Asian youth in a global market. The U of I offers a fascinating window on East Asian youth because of the many college (and pre-college) students who make their way here – as well as the movement of “Amercian” youth to East Asia. Through participation in the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI), students will conduct local field research that reveals the global processes at issue. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-06-05

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