When Social Support Fits into your Luggage: Online Support Seeking and its Effects on the Traditional Study Abroad Experience
In a study abroad context, the maintenance of dual on and offline personas provides students with the opportunity to demolish communication barriers with the home culture created by geographic distance. Conversely, online communication may help bring down communication barriers created by linguistic and cultural differences, providing students with exciting opportunities for face-to-face social interaction with host nationals. Yet, very little is known about how students are using the Internet in the development or maintenance of social support networks during study abroad. The goal of the present research project is to understand how Internet-mediated support complements, supplements or supplants traditional support seeking and how online support seeking leads to changes in the traditional study abroad experience. In this article, I will present relevant literature on the subjects of acculturative stress, social coping, and Internet-mediated social support in order to ground the research question and study findings.
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