Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Jennifer Friedman

Co-Major Professor

Stephen Turner


china, cultural mediation, ethnocentrism, globalization, social capital, tourist syndrome



Globalization is forcing many American college students to re-evaluate their perspective on foreign travel. If they are offered an opportunity to improve their cultural relativity skill set by immersing themselves into a new culture, the more astute students might choose to embark on that journey especially if it would result in resume enhancement. This paper focuses upon a group of twelve community college students' cross-cultural experiences, navigation techniques, and adaptation methods as student interns teaching conversational English in Changchun, China for a period of nine to thirteen weeks in spring 2011. Several areas of interest emerged from their experiences and observations to allow for pedagogical inquiry: the global divide between Chinese and American cultural and educational initiatives; utilization of social, economic, and cultural capital by some but not all participants; successful teaching methods to deal with different learning styles; and negotiation of identities to become effective teachers and cultural ambassadors. The body of analysis, conclusions, and interpretations sections identifies the successes and failures of the twelve subjects and suggests that there is importance to this ethnographic study for sociology and education scholars. The bottom-line significance becomes apparent as more future college graduates will be seeking work both inside and outside the US in education and business fields. As employers peruse college graduates' resumes for something substantially unique, a candidate who has lived and worked in an emerging foreign country can be a huge advantage for their career aspirations.