Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Harriet Hayes

Degree Award Date

Spring 2002


Dialectical Transformation, Self-Identity, Study Abroad Experience


Place and Environment | Social Psychology and Interaction | Sociology | Tourism


The experience of studying abroad is a dynamic opportunity for young adults to explore a new world. Students leave home to enter a new land, seemingly fantastic, yet strangely real. They essentially remove themselves from everything that is known, common, and comfortable to envelop their whole being in an alternate culture with the host group. The student enters a group as an outsider, attempting to understand the insiders' educational system and culture. Yet the student learns more than simply about a different cultural group. The individual emerges with an enhanced sense of personal identity transformation. Georg Simmel's concept of the "stranger" may be appropriate for understanding this transformation in the study abroad participant.