Date of Thesis

5-8-2013

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

James Shields

Abstract

Fully engaging in a new culture means translating oneself into a different set of cultural values, and many of the values can be foreign to the individual. The individual may face conflicting tensions between the psychological need to be a part of the new society and feelings of guilt or betrayal towards the former society, culture or self. Many international students from Myanmar, most of whom have little international experience, undergo this value and cultural translation during their time in American colleges. It is commonly assumed that something will be lost in the process of translation and that the students become more Westernized or never fit into both Myanmar and US cultures. However, the study of the narratives of the Myanmar students studying in the US reveals a more complex reality. Because individuals have multifaceted identities and many cultures and subcultures are fluctuating and intertwined with one another, the students¿ cross-cultural interactions can also help them acquire new ways of seeing things. Through their struggle to engage in the US college culture, many students display the theory of ¿cosmopolitanism¿ in their transformative identity formation process and thus, define and identify themselves beyond one set of cultural norms.

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