International Student Identity Essay
International Student Identity
Identity is sort of behaviour that can be symbolized by individual or communities by showing how they interact to each other and how they represent their culture of origin. These essay will discuss and analyse some theories of indentity through culture and languange views and then show the reader how these lense might influence international student identity. The structure of essay will be organised as follows; First of all, introduction will explain an overview of it.
This is followed by describing the theory of identity. The next section is about discussion of identity by using culture and language focuses. Furthermore, writer will explain the impact of new culture and language to international student’s current and future experience. Finally, a conslusion paragraph will be the final section of the essay. What is Identity? In last three decades, the theory of identity evolves continously.
According to Borowski (1976, 501), identity does not have a definite concept. Many scholars explore what identity is. For example, in his paper, Burke and Reitzes (1981) summarise the work of McCall and Simmons (1966), Stryker (1968), and Burke and Tully (1977) to divide the concept of identity in three unique characteristics that are, identities are produced by society, identities are personal sense, and identities are spontaneous and representational character.
This distinctive feature is obtained by an individual throughout childhood period to become his/her fundamental character (Sokefeld et. al. 1999, 2). Later on, Fearon (1999, 4) broadly explains that identity of a person can be defined as social identity (a person is recognised by “rules deciding membership and performed characteristic features or attributes”) and personal category (special feature, might be permanent, that make a person is looked important by society).
Furthermore, Hall (1990, 222) argues that the theories of identity keep to be produced, “which is never complete, always in process and always constituted within, not outside, representation” In addition, there are still challenges to identity theory to have obvious meanings that related to self and society (Stryker and Burke 2000, 284). Culture Identity According to archaeological term (SAA 2008), culture means “a set of learned beliefs, values and behaviours the way of life shared by the members of a society. ” It is performed because there is relationship between each of members (Ferdman 1990, 186).
They usually gather in a group of society. For example, if some Javanese people (one of Indonesian ethnics) live outside of Indonesia, they tend to live in a place where other Javanese live. They interact with each other and applying Javanese’s values that they have before. These dispositions maintain and develop their values and applying it in their daily living. Other people who are not a member of that society might look this mind-set as culture identity of that society. In addition, Hall (1990, 229) argues that cultural identities are the special character that emerge from history and culture.
For instance, culture identities of England and Ireland are quite same, because they have similar history and culture. Cultural identity represents individual or group’s behaviour. According to Kochman (1987, 220 cited in Ferdman 1990, 190), cultural identity can be represented by ethnic and indirect link between an individual and the group. It has main value that the beliefs and act becomes a symbol of the group, and the member realise that he/she has direct relationship with the most important and unique part of their culture (Smolic 1981, 75-77 cited in Ferdman 1990, 190) .
This value is simple, however its “malleability, imprecision, and multivocality”, make cultural identity become complicated (Cohen 1993, 202). Furthermore, it can be influenced by anything because of cultural identity is unstable (Hall 1990, 229). Language Identity Language is generally used when people interact to each other. Yihong et. al. (2005, 39) state that language is not just to communicate, but It associated with culture which create one’s self-identity. Moreover, it represents the identity of a society (Miller 2000, 69).
For example, International students from Indonesia, Middle East countries, or China, will speak by using their native language when they interact to student from same country. Indonesian language, Arabic language, Mandarin or Cantonese languages are their identity. People might know who they are by listening to their conversation. Language and identity can not be separated. Scholars argue that language use and identity is inherent with social practices and membership (Miller 2000, 69). He also affirms that self-representation is a product of language use and identity (Miller 2000, 69).
How person speaks, what type of vocabularies, represent the identity of the speaker. For instance, a truck driver will not use same language as a Professor use, and a postgraduate student has different style of language that high school student does. Even though they have same mother tongue, such as English, they speak differently because they come from different society. Their identity shows what and how they differ. International Student Identity People who pursue their study to overseas’ university will have new identity as international student.
They become member of student society. During study, each individual enacts its duty as student (Fearon 1999, 19). A student can be seen by another member of society as college student, or the other way around. Furthermore, he or she may establish a self-identity embedded with academic consequences (Reitzes and Burke 1982 cited in Reitzes and Burke 1991, 243). By representing their new identity, they should study hard, submit the assignment on time, do some examinations, interact to other students and lecturer, and so on.
Being international student in Australia, a person who comes from country which has different culture and language use will do some adjustments related with culture and language. He or she should accustom with Australian or western culture, and using English language more frequent. These adjustments may be done to make his or her study successful and to make their live during here easy. For instance, using English language to communicate to another student from different country and lecturer or tutor is a must; otherwise he or she can not interact.
Another illustration is when he or she has group assignment which requires working with Australian student or western countries’ student. Possibly, Australian people is very common with assertive behaviour (Putnis and Petelin 2007, 3. 3), which can annoy him or her. Instead of the study group is unsuccessful, acceptation to this behaviour should be considered, since it has positive impact to the group. Postgraduate student identity It is very interesting for me to deal with new culture. I have to make a lot of adjustments while I am here. For example, I should say “thank you” to the bus driver to show my politeness and appreciation.
It might be sort of Australian culture which is unusual attitude in my country. Another case is about calling a lecturer or someone who has higher position than me just by mentioning his or her first name. For the first time, it is so unfamiliar for me, because in Indonesia, I have to call them by saying ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ before their name. In spite of the example above, I am very surprised to know that drinking alcohol and get drunk is frequently done by most of Australian people. They always do this thing every week end. Using English as new constraint language in the university is a remarkable thing for me.
All things that related with my study are in English. At the beginning, it is quite difficult for me to be used to English language, because English is not my first or second language. However, I must try hard to improve my English, by speaking and interacting more often with other native or international student. After all, now I feel my self-representation changes. According to (Yihong et. al. 2005, 39-40), I am in the level of “self confidence change and additive change. “ As a postgraduate student, to establish reading habit and critical thinking are also new culture for me.
To do my assignment well, all problems should be keen evaluated and analytically critiqued (Atkinson and Longman 2003 cited in Davies and Maldoni). They also suggest that critical thinking can be established by doing a lot of reading. For example, I need to read a lot of references to support my opinion in a discussion essay. Impact to my future There are many Australian cultures which can influence my self identity. However, I have to sort whether it will be positive or negatif impact for me. For the negatif one, such as drinking alcohol habit, I will not allow my self to be influenced by that thing.
On the other hand, assertive behaviour and the way how Australian people appreciate someone else will give the positive impact for me. In the future, my self will be more assertive and will appreciate people more. Another good impact for me is high level of English proficiency. Practising english everyday will make non-native speaker highly confident (Yihong et. al. 2005, 39-40). Conclusion The concept of identity still changes and many experts try to formulate the suitable definition of identity. New culture and language use which faced by international student will affect to their self identity.
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University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 22 October 2016
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