Life Outside your Comfort Zone

The Power of Reflection for Cultural Adjustment

Keywords: academic mobility, cultural adjustment, faculty transition, international faculty, minority faculty, reflection, transnational scholar

Abstract

This reflective paper explores the different experiences of two higher education professionals who utilized intentional reflection to help with the transition to new countries and cultural environments. One story focuses on how the higher education professional grappled with different challenges even though her new environments afforded her a novel privilege of membership in a racial and religious majority. The other higher education professional’s story discusses her transition from life as a member of the majority to a member of the minority in a different religious and racial context. The paper concludes by sharing recommendations for how other higher education professionals can utilize reflection (Dewey, 1993; Rodgers, 2002) to help with a transition and cultural adjustment in a new environment.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Jobila Sy, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates

JOBILA SY, Ed.D is an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Zayed University. Prior to this position, she served as an associate professor at American University of Antigua: College of Medicine (West Indies) and as the Director of Academic Advising at the College of William and Mary (USA). Her research interests include international higher education, multicultural education, cultural competence, student development theory and academic advising.

Natalie Cruz, Old Dominion University, USA

NATALIE CRUZ is a current PhD student studying international higher education at Old Dominion University. Prior to the PhD program, she was a faculty advisor at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates and the Director of International Student Life at Emory University. Her research is focused on changing modes of global student mobility, the importance of entrepreneurialism for international education leaders, and other transnational education issues.

References

Bay, U. & MacFarlane, S. (2010). Teaching critical reflection: A tool for transformative learning in social work? Social Work Education The International Journal, 30(7), 745-758. https://doi.org/10.1080/02615479.2010.516429

Dewey, J. (1933). How we think. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. [Original work published in 1910].

Ellis, S., Carette, B., Anseel, F., Lievens, F. (2014). Systematic reflection: Implications for learning from failures and successes. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(1), 67-72.

Jordi, R. (2011). Reframing the concept of reflection: Consciousness, experiential learning, and reflective learning practices. Adult Education Quarterly, 61(2), 181-197. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741713610380439

Mahmood, H., & Burke, M. G. (2018). Analysis of acculturative stress and sociocultural adaptation among international students at a non-metropolitan university. Journal of International Students, 8(1), 284-307. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1134307

Moon, J. (2004). A handbook of reflective and experiential learning: Theory and practice. New York, NY: Routledger.

Rodgers, C. (2002). Defining reflection: Another look at John Dewey and reflective thinking. Teachers College Record, 104(4), 842-866. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8306/5a718ecebe57d7dea8a80f6d2a746c7b7a86.pdf

Sandgren, D., Elig, N., Hovde, P., Krejci, M., & Rice, M. (1999). How international experience affects teaching: Understanding the impact of faculty study abroad. Journal of Studies in International Education, 3(1), 33-56. doi: 10.1177/102831539900300104

Toole, J. & Toole, P. (1995). Reflection as a tool for turning service into learning experiences. Evaluation/Reflection, 63, 99-115. https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/slceeval/63

Volpone, S., Casper, W., Marquardt, D., & Avery, D. (2018). Minimizing cross-cultural maladaptation: How minority status facilitates change in international acculturation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 103(3), 249-269. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000273

Wang, Y., Li, T., Noltemeyer, A., Wang, A., & Shaw, K. (2018). Cross-cultural adaptation of international college students in the United States. Journal of International Students, 8(2), 821-842. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v8i2.116

Published
2019-11-15
How to Cite
Sy, J., & Cruz, N. (2019). Life Outside your Comfort Zone. Journal of International Students, 9(4), 1203-1208. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v9i4.1022
Section
Study Abroad Reflections