Shelley Dawson (PhD Celebration)

Shelley Dawson (PhD Celebration)



Identities and Ideologies in Study Abroad Contexts (PhD Celebration)

How do university exchange students in New Zealand and France navigate nationality, gender and sexuality?

Study abroad is a multifaceted experience which involves much more than language learning. Using an ethnographic approach, my research adopts a bidirectional focus to examine the emergence of dynamic social identities in interaction for exchange students in New Zealand and France. I show how participants encounter ‘new’ Discourses and norms on exchange and how these spark reflections on nationality, gender, and sexuality. Societal ideologies are found to be deeply embedded in these identity navigations, functioning as a constraint and a site of resistance, and offering a useful portal into questions of structure and agency. In this presentation, I reflect on the PhD journey, outline the major components of the thesis, and show how study abroad students are well placed to lead social change.