Alterity: The Dartmouth Journal of Intercultural Exchange is a student-led publication of The Frank J. Guarini Institute for International Understanding
See the Aims and Scope for the full scope of the journal.
What's in your shoebox?
Hello and thank you for taking the time to look through the inaugural issue of Alterity: The Dartmouth Journal of Intercultural Exchange. The goal of this journal is to create a student-run platform sharing students’ thoughtful and insightful study away stories. The hope is that this becomes a resource, useful for students planning and preparing for their own study away adventures.
Although more than half of Dartmouth undergraduates study abroad, there has never before been a public forum to reflect upon and then share these diverse experiences. Much of experiential learning happens through reflection, but in many cases it’s left up to students to find time and space for reflection, which can be difficult amid the immersion of new experiences in a different place. Often, it’s not until students return from their study away and gain some distance that they are able to view their home differently and appreciate the significance of the journey they just had.
Every piece in this issue was written or created by a student in the What’s In Your Shoebox?: Unpacking Your Study Abroad Experience class taught for the first time in the spring of 2018 by Francine A’Ness, Assistant Research Professor and Associate Director of the Guarini Institute for International Education, and Prudence Merton, Lecturer and Associate Director for Faculty Programs and Assessment at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning. The course is a reflection-based, experiential re-entry course, which gives students the opportunity to spend 10 weeks deeply reflecting on their study abroad experience. Through reflection, students investigate how they have changed and what they have learned. Alterity will serve as a home for these reflections, which show students’ individual, intellectual, and intercultural growth. After you’re finished with this issue, we hope that you are left with the yearning to slow down; observe where you are, what you see, and how you feel; and record that in some way so that you can return to it later upon reflection.
So, what exactly will you find in this journal? Students submitted their digital stories –short multimedia videos that turn an aspect of a study abroad experience into a powerful audiovisual story –and personal essays on the topics of family, solitude, special places, taking calculated risks, and culture. Families are often a big theme in study away stories, as being adopted into a host family usually means stepping outside of your comfort zone, and growing comfortable with that family often is a sign of becoming more comfortable with the host culture as a whole. This process can also spur a realization of the importance of your own family at home. Many students also reflect on the importance of solitude, which can be very powerful. At times, host cultures can become overwhelming, but spending time alone can facilitate deep self-reflection and a change in perspectives. Another theme of this issue, taking calculated risks, explores how students can expose themselves to something new and potentially dangerous in order to stretch themselves (without getting into trouble). It’s important that these pieces are realistic, as studying away and life in general aren’t without challenges; learning should be uncomfortable and encourage students to push their boundaries. The theme of special places is an obvious nod to the significance of place in a study away experience. Students leave the familiar and go somewhere unfamiliar and surprising, learning in and from that place. Finally, an examination of culture delves into what we can learn about culture and our roles as cultural beings through both culture-specific and cultural-general awareness and understanding.
This journal wants to thank Dr. Milton J. Bennett, of the Intercultural Development Research Institute, who used the term “alterity” to refer to encounter with difference when he spoke to the inaugural Shoebox class at Dartmouth and inspired the name of this publication. In addition, the name of the Shoebox course comes from Dr. Bruce LaBrack, of the School for International Studies and the University of the Pacific, who theorized that too often, study abroad experiences get packed away in a mental shoebox and tucked away in the closet of the mind. The course encourages students to use their study away experience for more than just surface-level show-and-tell reminiscing.
We hope Alterity continues to live on; in addition to submissions from students in the Shoebox class, we’d love to see future submissions from other Dartmouth students, alumni, and host and home families. We also believe donors and faculty directors can take something from this journal, which would not be possible without the awe-inspiring dedication of Francine and Prue, who deserve an extra special thanks.
Julie Bonette, Alterity Editor-in-Chief
Taking Calculated Risks
How To Be a Tourist: My Time in Rome
Raclette, “We Will Rock You”, and Other Universal Languages
Taking Calculated Risks
Outside the Melting Pot: Reflections on Hypervisibility Abroad
- Julie Bonette
- Supervising Professors
- Francine A'ness
- Prudence Merton
This is the debut issue of Alterity: The Dartmouth Journal of Intercultural Exchange and it includes the work of Dartmouth undergraduates completed as a part of the course What’s In Your Shoebox? Unpacking Your Study Abroad Experience. The course was directed by Professors Francine A'ness and Prudence Merton. Hence, this is our Shoebox Issue