The current phenomenon of intercultural exchanges in Australia by French academic sojourners has raised man issues regarding borderless education. These include effects of brain drain, competition between local and foreign sources of e-learning, operative international association between institutions and remodeling of cultural identity. Through comparison, few studies have dealt with the issue which relates to the social and cultural scopes of the exchange program. These scopes are, however, of key significance in the understanding of the nature and effect of the experience of studying abroad. This book makes an investigation of the effect of the processes of acculturation and repatriation and the language experiences of French academic sojourners on their views on cultural identity. When sojourners join a new society with different cultural norms and values, it stands to reason that changes in identity may originate from intercultural contact between the visitors and the host members of the community. This is because identity changes take place in reaction to temporary, situational and cultural contexts. When sojourners are needed to make an adaptation to an unfamiliar sociocultural setting over a long period of time, they are supposed to learn new cultural selections and competences. Adjustments to an unacquainted culture require transitions in cognition, attitudes and conduct, without which there may be the occurrence of acculturative stress and culture shock.
It has further been argued that for sojourners, culture learning and the achievement of personal growth are not some of their priorities. This is because most of them are instrumentally motivated meaning that their concentration is on the attainment of qualifications and experience or specialized training which they perceive will provide them with more lucrative prospects on going back home. It is also seen that their objectives do not match those of the international exchanges organizers. This may be because of transition in the criteria which are dependent on the perspectives of the sponsors, the establishment and the host state. The tensions that come from the differences in motives between the organizers and the foreign students are regularly paralleled by those having an effect on other sojourner groups especially volunteer workers. Learning for some of the foreign students, whether it is in the attainment of knowledge, customs, skills or attitudes, therefore, infers a process of individual goal-seeking, surviving and defense which eventually influences the result of the sojourn. The breach in their established interactive network, the culture disparity and the simultaneous complications in communications experienced by the foreign students usually crowns in problems adjustments. At the end, the burden for fruitful adaptation to their new educational environment rests solidly on their shoulders.
In public pronouncements, educational exchange is usually credited with impressive results. Walton addresses the question of how study abroad advance international comprehension in her study of educational exchange between France and the United States. She draws on a range of sources, both personal and institutional and makes a conclusion study abroad exemplifies a certain string form of cultural internationalism. She refers to it as internationalism of difference. Walton states that this difference is unique from formal intergovernmental relationships and one-way public diplomacy. She further takes a historian’s approach of synthesizing a wide range of sources over a long period of time. She states that this is the first longitudinal structure and dismantling of state stereotypes by use of educational exchange and uncommon in providing equal importance to personal experience and official policy. Walton is successful in drawing out the intricacies and the textures of survived experiences, in the framework of entangled development, political, economic and social over time. She also brings out an idea of internationalism that appreciates in full its personal dimensions. She discusses the political and education contexts for the growth of the exchange programs between the U. S and France, starting from the period when most U.S citizens were in favor of postgraduate education offered by Germany. Walton shows that what government officials and program administrators wanted from exchange programs was not really the determination of the actual lived experiences of participants who usually did not meet the institutional expectations.
With the internet being the lead to global homogeneity, English, it may be perceived that English is the only important language. However, this is not the truth of the matter. The internet is worldwide, but the content it carries is local. If one accesses the internet, they will receive advertisements that have been adapted to local interests and conditions with such news being tailored to one’s locality. As a matter of fact, latest developments in the internet are to allow language which is not English. In international trade, a person is required to be sensitive to regional conditions, cultures and needs and this is inclusive of local languages. In the same manner that communication entails specific knowledge of local cultures, it also entails knowledge of the language details and not a mere generalized knowledge. This involves how the knowledge is entrenched in the use for the people who use them. This means knowledge of the comprehensive texture of the language, the sociolinguistic detail and variation which forms part of each language in social use and is an important part of linguistic competence. Competence at this stage of language is what allows people to communicate totally with others in a manner which is respectful to their humanity as social beings. Majority of people in the world are multilingual and speaker. Speakers adapt to the constant shifts in communities they are a part of and look for a space in their own speech community they happen to be part of at the time. This makes sociolinguistic and sociocultural competences be of equal importance.
One of the most undoubted assumptions regarding the study abroad context is that learners get huge amounts of inputs and have many chances for communicative interaction. Many studies of language study abroad have, however, indicated that the outcome of the foreign experiences is different to all individuals. The outcomes are infrequently lackluster as compared to the expectations held by the learners and the teachers. Because of the fact that almost 80% of English teachers globally are not native English speakers, more studies on studying abroad are required. Many professional development researchers have continued to emphasize the significance of experiential learning that is attained through foreign studying experiences. Benefits of study abroad are not evident to all persons. There is also the assumption that study abroad provides unlimited learning opportunities in which learners are faced with difference and learn from it. Individual differences between the people involved play should be considered as an important role in the result of study abroad.
Higher education institutions and educational policy makers have considerably increased energies to incentivize study abroad partaking. These efforts are based on the longstanding perception that participating studies abroad lead to the improvement of intercultural competence. This has made institutions to invest substantial resources with the aim of increasing participation in studying abroad. This is with the expectations that learns who will study and live in another culture for a long time will be helped in developing intercultural awareness, communication skills and sensitivity that they would not be availed in local institutions. Study abroad has been stated to provide participants with the cultural interactions that enable them to take part in all forms of ill-structured problems that hinder holistic development.