When Social Support Fits into your Luggage: Online Support Seeking and its Effects on the Traditional Study Abroad Experience

  • Jude Mikal
Keywords: Study abroad, Education abroad, Internet-mediated social support, Online communication


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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Author Biography

Jude Mikal

Jude Mikal is Research Development Coordinator at the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center of the University of California Santa Barbara. He also works as a freelance language editor and translator. His goal is to pursue additional academic research in Internet-mediated social support. 


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How to Cite
Mikal, J. (2011). When Social Support Fits into your Luggage: Online Support Seeking and its Effects on the Traditional Study Abroad Experience. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 21(1), 17-40. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v21i1.302
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