The re-negotiation of cultural identity of French academic sojourner during cross-cultural transition in Australia

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This paper focuses on research on French academic sojourners in Australia, investigating the recent phenomenon of their cross-cultural exchanges in this country. Findings suggest that mitigating effects of acceptance and tolerance fostered good intercultural relations between all respondents and the host society which resulted in a successful acculturation experience. Paradoxically, this newly formed understanding and friendship between cultures exacerbated the re-entry identity conflicts for the French students as they no longer wished to leave Australia. These problems surfaced upon re-entry because of the inability to reconcile the new intercultural identity with rigid or "tight" social norms in France. Sojourners embraced the notion of a third place (Liddicoat, Crozet, & Lo Bianco, 1999) in Australia, negotiating a comfortable situation during intercultural interactions without compromising their cultural identity. Extrapolating from this, I conceptualised a new term, a "parallel dimension" during the repatriation stage. Unable to transpose their remodelled identity from the Australian context to the French, the returnees felt the need to establish a special place that constituted a coping mechanism for the difficult transitional process, a term born out of the incommunicability of the sojourn experience to those back home. This in turn became the catalyst for a "transitory phenomenon", the implications of which cannot be ignored during programming of intercultural exchanges.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStimulating the action as participants in participatory research
PublisherGriffith University, School of Cognition, Language, and Special Education
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781920952525
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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