“Home Sweet Home?” An Ethnographic Study on the Experiences of Students Returning home from a short Teacher Training Programme

Antonia Shevlin

Abstract

This ethnographic study looks at the experiences of 10 undergraduate students returning home from studying abroad as part of a two-week summer school in Zurich, Switzerland. The study highlights the disruptions and coping strategies of the students settling in the host country and returning to the home country. The research enhances the understanding of these educational experiences and the return to their home country by looking at the impact it had on their mental health in coping with the transition. An interpretive epistemological approach was adopted. Data was collected through face-to-face and Skype interviews in conjunction with the researcher’s field notes. The data was analysed by using a thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006), and identified three main themes: ‘Homesickness and social support’, ‘Home sweet home?’ with a sub-theme ‘Rollercoaster of emotions’ split into the ‘The Highs’, ‘The Lows’ and ‘Talk or not to Talk’. Students experienced homesickness, mood swings and loneliness in relation to their relocation and re-entry. They also reported that their experiences were often undermined,and expressed the need of receiving more support. Future research should focus on how universities may enhance services to support students in their study journeys abroad and in the re-entry.

 

Shevlin, A. (2021) “Home Sweet Home?” An Ethnographic Study on the Experiences of Students Returning home from a short Teacher Training Programme. Transformations, [online] Vol. 4(1). Available at: https://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=10805 [Accessed 14 Aug, 2022].

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