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  • Nykänen, Jamina (2018)
    The cultural identity and social relationships of a Third Culture Kid (TCK) has been researched in the recent decade. However, it is relevant to study more about the extraordinary experience of TCKs from their own point of view, which is the aim of this study. TCKs’ perceptions of their identity, identification and their becoming interculturally competent through their experiences deserve its own study. The aim of this study is to view how TCKs identify themselves when they return back home to Finland and to the Finnish culture after spending many years abroad or being brought up in a multicultural family in Finland. In addition, it is important to view how they percept their multicultural background and their international experiences and how they describe their sense of belonging and otherness as well as their intercultural growth. Phenomenography was used as the research strategy in this case study of four adult TCKs. The adult TCKs were interviewed and asked to write an autobiography discussing their feelings and experiences as a multicultural person with an international life experience. The data was first analysed with qualitative content analysis and then with phenomenographic analysis to create descriptive categories common to phenomenography. The adult TCKs have experienced difficulties with identification as it is complex and multidimensional. Identity and identification are involved with the senses of belonging and otherness. In this study cultural and social identity are tangled together in the narratives of the adult TCKs. The participants haven’t felt being attached to just one identity, a community or a group. Instead they described various senses of belonging and otherness. This study shows how these various feelings reflect how identity and identification are strongly attached to the context. The participants discuss their intercultural competence through their attitudes, cultural knowledge and social skills. The adult TCKs consider that they have learned from their cultural encounters. Through their experiences they have collected knowledge and skills to understand and respect people from different origins. Their own multicultural backgrounds have led them to examine their thoughts and attitudes and thus to develop their intercultural competence.
  • Kilpi, Katariina (2016)
    This dissertation explores the experience of adults looking for career specific further training and higher education. This is intended to help understand adult education experiences and support successful adult learning. The theoretical framework for the research is founded on the complexity of multifaceted identities that adults will have developed over their lives and their ability to change identities according to situational contexts. The research also uses theories on constructivism in adult learning, the narrative nature of learning and human development, and individuality of human development due to psychosocial developments and career specific experiences. Fundamental research questions built on the view that expressions of individual identity reflect adult development and learning processes. The research uses a narrative approach. The material was collected from semi-structured one-to-one interviews. Participants were selected from adult attendants at a privately run entrepreneurship course in the autumn of 2013 (N=28). The accounts and personal stories recounted during the interview process have been analysed using narrative methods. Studying the interpretation of identity allows the research to highlight participants' career and life-experiences and to contextualise them within individuals' age and skill sets. The analysis highlights a connection between continuities in individual successes and high quality of learning. The discussion also addresses how self-evaluation of experiences, such as failure, or personal views of social nonconformity can be linked to more general learning experiences among adults or even to issues faced with adult learners' identity development. The individual interpretations of success and learning covered by this research emphasize the fundamental question of how adult learners can be supported during significant and unique life cycle changes that are concurrent with lifelong learning. These findings have further implication on understanding how individuals as learners and e-learners might develop positive self-images and view themselves as active agents in any learning environment.