Volume 2018, Issue 1 (2018) The Shoebox Issue

What's in your shoebox?

Cultural anthropologist Bruce La Brack uses the term "shoeboxing” to describe what many students do with their study abroad experiences: they take the entire experience, put it in a mental "shoebox," tuck it away in the closet of the mind, and only rarely take it out for periodic show-and-tell reminiscing. Even when we want to share stories about the time away it can be hard to find folk who really want to listen. What is more, you know you’ve changed but how? What’s in Your Shoebox? aims to rectify this. The class has two primary goals; 1) to provide you with the opportunity to revisit, unpack, and deeply reflect upon your recent study abroad experience, and then 2) to identify practical and meaningful ways to apply this new knowledge and awareness, whether that be applying for a fellowship, designing a research project, building an art installation, or participating in civic engagement. How will we do this? Each student will begin by identifying “critical incidents” and “memorable moments” from their time away. These incidents will form the basis for a series of deep reflection exercises designed to raise awareness, generate new knowledge, and prompt questions. We will discuss the social and emotional aspects of re-entry including academic reintegration and reverse culture shock. We will practice translating global experiences for new audiences and, through Digital Storytelling, “narrating the new self.” In the process, we will assess the role that cultural stereotypes play in meaning-making and the extent that travel alone raises intercultural consciousness and nuanced global awareness. Finally, we will explore ways to apply your new skills, abilities, and knowledge to other areas of your personal, intellectual, and professional lives. Class discussions will be supplemented with weekly theoretical readings from the fields of cultural anthropology, sociology, and intercultural communication and complemented by various chronicles of travel.


Rafael Nuñez
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