Gallucci, Sonia (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
The study presented in this thesis was designed with a view to investigating the lived experiences of three young British women spending a Year Abroad (YA) in Italy as a part of their undergraduate degree course. The study was guided by four research questions (see § 1.3). The empirical work was ethnographically-informed and combined interviews, diary entries, photos and photo captions with audio and video recordings. My understanding of the participants’ experiences was mostly built up through thematic and lexical analysis of the interview transcripts. I first focused on the themes which recurred most frequently in the participants’ discourse. I then examined the affective lexis that the participants drew on in expressing emotions and, drawing on the insights occurred from this aspect of the data, I built an account of their perceptions of and reactions to cultural difference. In addition, I looked into the specific ways in which they negotiated and reconfigured their identities as second language learners during the experience abroad. This study offers a new lens on the YA experience and demonstrates the value of cross-disciplinary research, which takes account of emotions in the negotiation of second language learner identities and in the handling of intercultural encounters
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