Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished ManuscriptAbstract: Despite the obvious success of packaging these study abroad programs with the promise of self-discovery and global literacy, research has yet to fully investigate the possible development of a different sense of citizenship among American student. This new citizenship would be one which embraces openness and inclusions, yet resists exclusionary and ethnocentric discourses and practices. In this working paper, based on interviews with College of Charleston students who studied in Cuba during the spring 2006 semester, we will employ Nadine Dolbys national identity framework to explore the connection between citizenship and national identity. We will pay close attention to the relationship emerging between American students study abroad experiences and their own national identity. Specifically, Dolbys national identity analysis sheds light on how American students negotiate an American identity within the context of the study abroad experience (Dolby, 2004, p.151). We are mindful of the fact that study abroad in Cuba for American students is initiated and ensues within an oppositional discourse based on historically acrimonious relations between the U.S. and Cuba. As such, the Cuba study abroad experience presents a useful and instructive cased study of American students encounter with an American self (Dolby, 2004, p.151). In the following sections we first briefly discuss how study abroad programs, packaged as a commodity by institutions of higher learning, are a reflection of an American nationalist discourse that produces and re-produces, at times, an exclusionary ethnocentric national identity. Secondly, we review Dolbys national identity framework and its relevance for the discussion of nation and national identity. Thirdly, we present our methodology and analysis of the student interviews on encountering their American self while studying in Cuba. Finally, we draw some conclusions about what study abroad experiences might hold for promoting the ideal of global citizenship.
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