Presenting on National Identity and Global Citizenship at NCUR

Luqman 1By Luqman Arjasari Asa, Indonesia, Tennessee Tech University

People say that the United States of America is “The Land of Opportunity.” For an international student like me, that phrase means that we can find numerous opportunities both in the university and outside of it to become more knowledgeable. From April 16th to 19th, I attended the four-day 2015 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, Washington. This opportunity allowed me to experience a unique research environment with 3,000 other research presenters and undergraduate students from across the U.S.

Along with my team of two other students (one from the U.S. and one from Japan) I presented research on International Studies. Our topic was “National Identity and Global Citizenship among International and American Students.” The reason we picked this topic was because all three of us live in a Global Village Residence Hall, which is a dorm at Tennessee Tech University for international students. International students from around the world are placed in in double rooms with an American student as their roommate. Living in this environment allowed us to ask the questions that led us to our research topic: Does having a roommate who has a totally different background, culture and way of thought affect one’s nationality? Does studying in the U.S. make a person realize that his/her home country is very small  compared to the U.S.? Or does studying in the U.S. make a student more proud of his/her country? Does one feel that he/she is a global citizen? All of these questions about nationality and global citizenship filled our minds and inspired us to find their answers.

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Throughout this process we were advised by a professor who is also the faculty head of the Global Village Dorm, Dr. Matthew J. Zagumny, Ph.D. He is a professor of Counseling and Psychology. The outcome of our research is written in the abstract below:

This study examined the effects of study abroad experiences and the interactions between American and International students on their concepts of their own identities. The student sample who completed usable questionnaires included 42.6% females, 73.3% international students (26.7% American) and had an average age of 21.88 (SD = 3.51). Comparisons of international and American students were conducted on the five sub-scales of the Collective National Identity Scale (CNIS; Lilli & Diehl, 1999) and the Global Citizen Scale (Reysen, 2012).

Results showed a significant difference on the Membership sub-scale (i.e., a person’s worth for or contribution to the in-group) between international and American students. Global Citizen scores were significantly correlated with CNIS sub-scales of Self-Concept Identity [r (116) = -.22, p = .018] and Public Identity [r (116) = .182, p = .049]. Students who study abroad may recognize that they are contributing to their nation in addition to their personal growth. Interestingly, students who have greater global citizenship also have a greater public national identity (i.e., estimation of the view that others have of this students’ nation). Having a greater sense of global citizenship seems to increase students’ self-awareness of how others view their nation. These findings suggest that study abroad programs may increase students’ awareness of and contribution to their nations.

This research conference was an impetus for me to continue to engage in research in the future and present my findings to many people. There is a great feeling when you talk about your passion and I want the chance to experience that feeling again.


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