Valerie Biwa

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

Communication, Media and Theatre Arts

Committee Member

Dennis P. O'Grady

Committee Member

Nick Romerhausen

Committee Member

Tsai-Shan Shen


This exploratory research focuses on the relationship between communication and identity transformation in the sojourner experience. It inquires the following: RQ1: How does communication affect the identity transformation process of sojourners? RQ2: How does identity transformation affect the way sojourners communicate? Ten participants from six countries were interviewed in a forty (40) minute interview session. A qualitative methodology with an open-minded exploratory approach using semi-structured questions to guide the interview was employed. A grounded-in-data coding and Owen’s criteria for identifying themes (Owen, 1984) was used to identify emerging themes and overlapping narratives. The study revealed five themes from the “living abroad” experience: changing the way I talk, interacting with the host culture, meeting new people, the college experience, the self; and five themes from the “at-home” experience: I am more, is this home? people at home, at work, and where do I fit in to answer RQ1 and RQ2, respectively.