Communication Studies Department
BA in Communication Studies
The purpose of this paper is to use retrospective sensemaking to analyze and dissect my experiences abroad. Retrospective sensemaking can be defined as the act of reevaluating past experiences and attaching in-depth meaning to them. In my case, I will outline different interactions I had abroad, and use other scholars’ research in intercultural communication, to form a more educational understanding of my trip. The first portion of my paper will be an introduction to the general themes of cultural identity and intercultural communication. After defining and analyzing these terms, I present a call to action for institutions to utilize intercultural communication training in their study abroad programs. This will educate individuals on intercultural communication and the cultural differences that exist between their host country and the United States. After giving background information about my study abroad program, Semester at Sea, I will interpret my experiences abroad with a scholarly lens. Using the basic concepts within collectivism and individualism, among others, I will retrospectively make sense of the life-changing interactions I experienced.