I'm so Normal, I Must Be Different

Taryn Mathis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


This chapter utilises an autoethnographic approach to reflect on personal life experiences, specifically intercultural experiences, of an American-born Australian author, or as many would be quick to alternatively identify as an American author living permanently in Australia. Thus, these varying sentiments and their meanings are explored within the chapter through addressing the difference between cultural adjustment and assimilation. The highlighted experiences range from early-life, age five, through to present day, age 36. Each reflection recognises how the author saw herself in that moment and describes the reflection that she saw through an intercultural mirror, a reflection provided by her cultural others. Each experience is evidence of greater development taking place within the author, documenting the transition from ethnocentric tendencies and low cultural intelligence to arriving at a state of cultural relativism due to the passage of time, emotional maturity, life experience, and formal, higher education. Ultimately, the author offers a window into cultural experiences throughout her life and acknowledges that these are not the experiences had by all. The key message is that whilst individuals will have their own, unique intercultural experiences, when reflection is applied to these experiences, cultural awareness, intelligence, and relativism can transpire.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntercultural Mirrors
Subtitle of host publicationDynamic Reconstruction of Identity
EditorsMarie-Claire Patron, Julia Kraven
Place of PublicationLeiden
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-40130-3
ISBN (Print)9789004396364
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2019


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