ArticlePDF Available

Changes in latitude, changes in attitude: Analysis of the effects of reverse culture shock - a study of students returning from youth expeditions

Authors:

Abstract

This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae, and drug doses should be independently verified with primary
This article was downloaded by: [Dr Pete Allison]
On: 24 October 2011, At: 11:35
Publisher: Routledge
Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered
office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Leisure Studies
Publication details, including instructions for authors and
subscription information:
http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rlst20
Changes in latitude, changes in
attitude: analysis of the effects
of reverse culture shock – a study
of students returning from youth
expeditions
Peter Allison a , Jennifer Davis-Berman b & Dene Berman c
a Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences
at The Moray House School of Education, The University of
Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland
b Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work at the
University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, USA
c School of Professional Psychology, Wright State University,
Dayton, OH, USA
Available online: 19 Oct 2011
To cite this article: Peter Allison, Jennifer Davis-Berman & Dene Berman (2011): Changes in
latitude, changes in attitude: analysis of the effects of reverse culture shock – a study of students
returning from youth expeditions, Leisure Studies, DOI:10.1080/02614367.2011.619011
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2011.619011
PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE
Full terms and conditions of use: http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-
conditions
This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any
substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing,
systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.
The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation
that the contents will be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any
instructions, formulae, and drug doses should be independently verified with primary
sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss, actions, claims, proceedings,
demand, or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or
indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
Changes in latitude, changes in attitude: analysis of the effects of
reverse culture shock a study of students returning from youth
expeditions
Peter Allison
a
*, Jennifer Davis-Berman
b
and Dene Berman
c
a
Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences at The Moray House School of
Education, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland;
b
Department of Sociology,
Anthropology, and Social Work at the University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, USA;
c
School of
Professional Psychology, Wright State University, Dayton, OH, USA
(Received 15 February 2011; nal version received 28 August 2011)
Despite the long history of youth expeditions and a growing number of partici-
pants and claims of being concerned with youth development, expeditions
have received little attention by leisure and/or educational researchers in the
UK. Recent literature specically examining expeditions in the UK demonstrates
an increasing interest in this phenomenon that sits on the juncture of education
and leisure. There has been some critique regarding lack of clarity of recrea-
tional or educational aims and ethical issues. Literature from travel and tourism,
management learning and international education all indicate that culture shock
and reverse culture shock (RCS) are experienced in a range of contexts. These
two literatures are summarised and inform the present research. This research
focused on gaining an initial understanding of young peoples experiences of
returning home after an expedition. Data were gathered six months after a
six-week expedition (n= 19) to south-west Greenland to undertake science and
journeys on the ice cap. Using a qualitative approach to analyse these data the
following themes were identied as affecting the participantsexpedition reverse
culture shock (ERCS): Sense of Isolation, Extending the Lessons of the Group
and Using the Group as a Compass for the Future. Connections are made to lit-
erature on RCS and some suggestions made for facilitating ERCS. Other impli-
cations are considered.
Keywords: expedition; reverse culture shock; wilderness; residential; adjustment
Introduction
Expeditions have been used in the UK as an educational tool since 1932 when the
Public Schools Exploring Society (later renamed British Schools Exploring Society,
BSES) ran their rst expedition to Finland (Allison, 2000; Allison, Stott, Felter, &
Beames, 2011; Stott & Hall, 2003). Recent literature specically examining expedi-
tions in the UK demonstrates an increasing interest in this phenomenon (Loynes,
2008). Many expedition providers now consider themselves to be engaged in youth
work using expeditions as the medium. The aims of such expedition providers are
typically expressed in terms of youth development, growth and learning but some
*Corresponding author. Email: peter.allison@ed.ac.uk
Leisure StudiesAquatic Insects
iFirst article, 2011, 117
ISSN 0261-4367 print/ISSN 1466-4496 online
Ó2011 Taylor & Francis
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2011.619011
http://www.tandfonline.com
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
critique in recent years suggests that these are recreational experiences dressed up
as education (Allison & Beames, 2010). Furthermore, such experiences typically
take place outside the formal education system and yet are often presented in a nor-
mative fashion as being somehow more than leisure or adventure travel.
It appears that the popularity of expeditions and gap years (taking a year off
either between school and work or university or after nishing university and prior
to seeking employment) is increasing. While gap years and expeditions are slightly
different, the former often incorporates the latter. Jones (2004) estimated that
250,000350,000 Britons between 16 and 25 years old were taking a gap year annu-
ally. The Geography Outdoors Fieldwork and Expeditions section (formerly Expedi-
tion Advisory Centre) of the Royal Geographical Society lists 135 organisations
currently recruiting expedition members (Royal Geographical Society, 2009).
The popularity of gap year experiences is illustrated by the recent launch of the
Gap Year Tool Kit by the Royal Geographical Society (2010) and by the emergence
of an insurance company which specically focuses on this market, Mind the Gap
Year (2008):
... understand the importance of making sure you get the most out of your travelling
experience. Thats why we have created our package of Gap Year and Backpacker
insurance and services to ensure hassle free travel for you, and peace of mind for your
family.
The eld of overseas expeditions in the UK is now guided by the British Stan-
dard 8848 (BS8848) which provides guidelines for organisations and individuals
offering expeditions and eld trips outside the UK. There is no widely agreed de-
nition of an expedition but for the purposes of this paper we dene them as experi-
ences that involve physical journeys (e.g. walking, sailing), have some degree of
uncertainty involved (e.g. of destination) and some self-sufciency (e.g. carrying
personal equipment and food supplies). In addition, youth expeditions typically take
place in locations that are different from the young peoples own environment or
culture (e.g. urban to wilderness, developed country to developing country). While
historically many expedition opportunities have been restricted to those who can
pay, this has changed in recent years with the introduction of numerous bursary
schemes, and similar, to ensure that nances are not a barrier to accessing opportu-
nities (Allison & Beames, 2010).
Such travel and overseas experience, particularly involving some form of out-
door education, is normally seen by young people, parents, university admissions
tutors and employers as in some way benecial to a young persons development.
However, there is a surprising absence of literature to support such beliefs. Outdoor
Experiential Learning (OEL) research has, in the UK, received increasing criticism
for being generally weak (Allison, 2000, 2007; Barret & Greenaway, 1995). More
recently Thomas, Potter, and Allison (2009, p. 24) summarised this issue saying
that ... previous criticisms have suggested that the literature in the elds of out-
door education, experiential learning and adventure education is fragmented, dispa-
rate, weak, easily criticised and in need of alternative approaches. Despite the long
history and the growing number of participants, expeditions have received little
attention by recreation and/or educational researchers in the UK.
The current study has taken an emic (or inductive) approach, focusing on indi-
vidualsexperiences as recommended in several studies (Barret & Greenaway,
2P. Allison et al.
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
1995; Donnison, 2000; McIntyre & Roggenbuck, 1998; Patterson, Watson,
Williams, & Roggenbuck, 1998).
Summary of expeditions literature
While there has been extensive research into the personal gains achieved through
participation in adventure education, outward bound programmes, outdoor recrea-
tion and wilderness therapy experiences (e.g. Barret & Greenaway, 1995; Davis-
Berman & Berman, 2008; Hattie, Marsh, Neill, & Richards, 1997; Russell, 2007;
Wurdinger, 1997), a relatively small amount of research into personal, social and
educational gains of UK-sponsored youth overseas expeditions has been conducted.
It is useful to briey examine some of the work in this area.
Kennedy (1992) studied Saharan expeditions from a socially deprived area of
inner city Liverpool. Taking a psychosocial perspective, he conducted mixed
method research and concluded that expedition experiences could contribute to indi-
vidual members, the school, communities and to the nation in positive ways. While
he did not specify what these positive wayswere, our reading suggests he was
referring to moral understandings and behaviour.
Allison and Higgins (2002) suggested ways for the eld to self-regulate and
ensure quality experiences for young people within a framework of safety manage-
ment. Their philosophical exploration regarding youth expeditions raised a collec-
tion of questions and dilemmas including cultural insensitivities, educative
potentials of such experiences, use of drugs to assist in the process of acclimatisa-
tion, scal strains placed on families and communities to pay for expeditions, gen-
der leadership balances, risk management and pedagogy.
Stott and Hall (2003) conducted a quasi-experimental study of an expedition to
Greenland in 1998 involving science and adventure, measuring self-reported
changes in personal, social and technical skills. Results of the study indicated sig-
nicant prepost changes in 22 of the 49 domains identied. Examples of domains
of signicant changes include setting priorities, achieving goals, solving problems
efciently, being enthusiastic and leading through consultation with others.
Beames reported on a qualitative study of a three-month expedition to Ghana
involving community work and adventurous activities. In the rst of two articles
based on this study, Beames (2004a) argued that expeditions may be providing a
rite of passagefor young people making transitions from adolescence to young
adulthood moving away from home to begin employment or university study. In
the second article, Beames (2004b) identied ve critical elementsto the success
and power of the expedition: (1) social environment, (2) diverse group of people,
(3) physical demands, (4) self-sufcient living arrangements and (5) changing
groups.
More recently, Rea (2006) used observations and semi-structured interviews dur-
ing a school mountaineering expedition to Iceland. He concluded that, during and
after the expedition, reection and learning were natural processes that occurred
when there was space and time (for example, during walking). Furthermore, he
found that spontaneous reectionoften started at a supercial level and regularly
led to deeper learning three days after an experience.
In 2010, Allison and Von Wald suggested that while the claims of youth
expeditions in the UK were typically couched in youth development terms,
there was very little evidence of understanding of processes that lead to this
Leisure Studies 3
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
development’–arguably as a result of drawing primarily on leaders with a leisure
and recreation background. They suggested that opportunities for exploring values
through making individual and group choices provides a helpful conceptual frame-
work for leaders of such expeditions. In doing so they drew heavily on the work of
John Dewey and contemporary values education literature.
Takano (2010) studied 67 Japanese expeditionsparticipants who took part in
a British-organised expedition 2023 years ago. Using questionnaires she found
that 99% of participants considered the expedition to be signicant in their lives
and 96% replied that the expedition inuenced their present selves. Findings in
the study are similar to the above literature with one additional nding that
80% of respondents agreed that it was a particular stage in their lives which
made the experience more inuential(p. 89) which aligns with work by Allison
(2002).
In 2011, Greffrath, Meyer, Strydom, and Ellis (2011) undertook a mixed method
comparative study in South Africa to explore differences between centre-based
experiences and wilderness experiences. They concluded that experience-based wil-
derness programmes are more effective for personal development for students.
It is evident from the above summary that most of the extant literature focuses
on the benets of expeditions and a small literature is developing on the processes
that lead to such benets. No research concentrates on the adjustment back to the
home environment although Gair (1997) has suggested that this is an area of con-
cern in a chapter titled all stressed up and nowhere to go. His chapter is based on
experience and provides no empirical evidence.
This research focused on gaining an initial understanding of young peoples
experiences of returning home after an expedition on the basis of empirical evi-
dence. The current research bridges a gap between the expedition literature men-
tioned above and the literature on reverse culture shock (RCS). Thus, it is useful to
briey summarise literature on RCS.
Reverse culture shock
RCS has developed from the literature on culture shock (CS) which is normally
attributed to anthropologist Oberg (1960) who conceptualised the anxiety and frus-
trations associated with the absence of familiar signs and symbols associated with
daily social interactions. He identied six components of CS:
(1) psychological strain;
(2) sense of loss and feelings of deprivation;
(3) feelings of rejection by the new culture;
(4) confusion in role expectation, values and feelings;
(5) surprise and anxiety at realisation of cultural differences;
(6) feelings of impotence at inability to cope with, or integrate into the new
environment.
Since this initial work others have attempted further research but a lack of clar-
ity remains, as might be expected with such a term that has entered into common
parlance (Furnham, 1984, p. 45).
Similar to the literature on dying and grief some researchers have suggested
stage processes such as Adler (1975) which can be likened to a U curve moving
4P. Allison et al.
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
from initial happiness and fascination to depression, anxiety and discomfort before
returning to happiness. While there are ongoing discussions regarding the value of
such models and the empirical support for them, for the purposes of this paper it is
sufcient to note that researchers in, among other areas, tourism and travel, have
paid some attention to the challenges of adjusting to new and often signicantly dif-
ferent cultures. Further, the literature notes that there are multiple factors involved
in CS such as purpose of visit (holiday, gap year, business travel, business reloca-
tion), nationality, prior travel experiences, expectations, intimacy of experience and
social network support (Stewart & Legatt, 1998).
Management learning literature has also paid some attention to CS, for example
Grifths, Winstanley, and Gabriel (2005) drew on some of the above-mentioned lit-
erature in tourism to study sojournersleaving their workplace temporarily for
higher education (MBA study) with the intention of returning to their workplace.
They adapted the term CS to learning shock to describe some of the challenges
associated with return to education such as acute frustration, confusion and anxi-
ety(p. 276). They conclude that managing learning shock can involve a range of
strategies such as discussions with students and attention to creating the right emo-
tional climate, where conicts and disagreements are aired and contained and where
respect for difference is enhanced(p. 292).
Pyvis and Chapman (2005) studied CS of students from Singapore studying in
Singapore but being taught by Australian academics through a partnership arrange-
ment. This exploratory work involved in-depth semi-structured interviews and is
valuable as studies of culture shock have tended to assume that a culture foreign to
an individual is in a country that is foreign to that individual(p. 40). The study
suggested that CS may be further emphasised by the intensive nature of the course
delivery but that further work in this area is needed.
RCS is a less researched term but builds on the above-mentioned literature to
describe the experience of returning back to a familiar (usually home) environ-
ment. Hirshon, Eng, Brunkow, and Hartzell (1997) studied the psychological
impact of evacuation from Peace Corps experience. Of the 265 individuals in the
study they found that 60% of evacuees reported depression in contrast to 29% in
the control group. Similar patterns were identied for: feelings of disorientation,
difculty in making decisions, anxiety and numbness of feelings. These ndings
are not surprising and vary from the current research in that they involve evacua-
tion rather than returning to home cultureat an expected time and in an
expected manner.
Business literature also touches on RCS for expatriates who have been working
abroad (often for a large company) and then return back to their home country to
continue work following an overseas assignment. A summary of this area by
Bonache, Brewster, and Suutari (2001) highlights the importance of RCS and indi-
cates that 1025% of expatriates leave their employment within a year of returning
to their home country. They suggest that expatriate expectation management is of
primary importance in the repatriation process.
Finally, Gaw (1995) studied Americans returning from studying at high schools
abroad to attend university. Using a modied version of the Personal Problems
Inventory (PPI) (Cash, Begley, McGown, & Weise, 1975) he found that those suf-
fering with higher level of RCS were more likely to report shyness concerns and
that the higher the level of RCS the less likely students were to access counselling
services (negative correlation). Similar work by Fail, Thompson, and Walker (2004)
Leisure Studies 5
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
with international school students found that returning to home countries to go to
university often resulted in major identity crisis(p. 333).
With the above literature in mind we were interested to consider the experiences
of people returning from wilderness expeditions. In this respect the present research
drew on both the expedition literature and the RCS literature.
Research context
The research reported on in this paper was undertaken on a six-week expedition
with BSES to south-west Greenland. BSES is based at the Royal Geographical
Society (RGS) in London and runs expeditions to remote areas of the world for
young people. It is also worth noting that the participants in these expeditions are
not typically characterised as youth at riskand are young people from the upper
end of the social class spectrum who either have access to funds or engage in fund-
raising to cover the costs of their participation. Specic information on this is delib-
erately not collected by the organisation.
The Societys expeditions aim to help in the development and personal growth
of young people through the challenge of living, undertaking science and adventur-
ous journeys in remote and challenging areas of the world. As such the Society is
the rst youth overseas expedition organisation in the UK and arguably the world
(Loynes, 2008).
This research was undertaken on an expedition to Greenland involving 72 young
people (referred to as young explorers or YEs) between 16 and 20 years of age who
applied for and were interviewed to secure a place. A total of 30 females and 42
males participated in the expedition. Applicants were selected on the basis of their
enthusiasm, determination, common sense, ability to work as a member of a team,
physical tness and sense of humour. Some experience of camping and walking
was expected but the main selection criteria were attitude and the potential for
demonstrating suitable expedition behaviour.
Once accepted on the expedition young people are expected to raise funds to
support their expedition. To do this they are provided with information and advice,
put into contact with previous YEs from their area (who offer advice), directed
towards grant-making trusts and supported by staff in the ofce.
BSES expeditions are led by experts drawn from universities, teaching and med-
ical professions, industry and the Armed Services. Leaders were selected on the
basis of their relevant experience. Selection of leaders is completed by application
forms followed by interviews (normally by the chief leader). All leaders are volun-
teers. On this expedition there were 16 leaders from various backgrounds including
an archaeologist, a medical student, two doctors, two marines, one botanist, four
geographers, two mountaineers and a biologist.
The expedition was broken up into 6 res (or groups) with 12 young people in
each re and two leaders. Additional leaders were responsible for base camp man-
agement, mountaineering, boats and overall responsibility (chief leader). Everyone
camped throughout the expedition in three-person tents and cooked on stoves. Once
arriving at base camp, this expedition was situated in a wilderness environment with
no contact with people outside the expedition.
The expedition was broken into two phases science and adventure. During the
six-week period, res spent around two or three weeks studying environmental sci-
ences such as botany, geology, glaciology and archaeology and trekking through the
6P. Allison et al.
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
impressive mountains and valleys. Fires spent the remaining time (around 10 days)
training in mountaineering skills before undertaking multi-day journeys on the ice
cap. Throughout the expedition young people were given increasing levels of
responsibility. It took seven days for the expedition to travel from the UK to base
camp and the same time to return, delayed by inclement weather conditions and
pack ice.
The research team had previous involvement in various expeditions in different
countries with numerous organisations, and BSES was identied as a suitable orga-
nisation for this work.
Methodology
The purpose of this research was to gain insight into the experiences of young
people returning from an expedition. Specically we were interested in understand-
ing any challenges to adjusting back to the home environment. Gaining insights
and understandings of this nature suggested a qualitative approach, often used in
similar circumstances in education (Greener, 2011, pp. 810, 94; Pyvis & Chapman,
2005), life history and narrative research (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2011, p.
552; Gill & Goodson, 2011) and in outdoor experiential education (Allison, 2000).
This study was intended to elaborate holistic understanding of the phenomenon and
provide granular detail(Greener, 2011, p. 94), or to say in other words using
social anthropologiststerminology, it was aimed to produce thick descriptionof
the phenomenon and develop insights and meaning (Crotty, 1998, p. 9) into the
process of returning from an expedition. Proponents of the positivist paradigm
might question the ability of such kind of theory to predict and explain (Thomas &
James, 2006) while qualitative researchers have typically reversed objections as
highlighting strengths of the methods (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009, p. 171). Further,
epistemic value of the constructivist knowledge is not about making predictions but
is about providing in-depth understanding of the phenomenon (Crotty, 1998;
Dowling & Brown, 2010).
In qualitative work the researchers are typically the instrument for analysis as
the purpose is to emerge themes from data (Richards, 2009, p. 73). Flick (2007)
suggests that the key to managing quality in qualitative research is by focusing on
process and transparency. Hence, throughout the research process and in this paper
we have strived to be clear and transparent about the process of data collection,
management and analysis. This point is explicated by Schoeld (1993, p. 93):
At the heart of qualitative research is the assumption that a piece of qualitative
research is very much inuenced both by the researchers and participants individual
attributes and perspectives ... The goal is not to produce a standardised set of results
that any other careful researcher in the same situation or studying the same issues
would have produced ... however, they do not expect other researchers in similar or
even the same situation to replicate their ndings in the sense of independently com-
ing up with a precisely similar conception. As long as the other researchers conclu-
sions are not inconsistent with the original account, differences in the reports would
not generally raise questions related to validity or generalisability.
Following the expedition all participants received letters asking them to write
about the inuence of the expedition on them. The letters asked them to take time
to write a page or so about any ways in which you think the expedition has
impacted you: as an individual and as a member of a group/community. Letters
Leisure Studies 7
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
were selected as opposed to questionnaires or interviews for three reasons. First, we
wanted to avoid leadingor making assumptions as much as possible. Second, we
wanted people to be able to communicate at a time that suited them rather than at a
pre-arranged meeting for an interview or similar. Third, the impracticality of travel
and associated costs to visit and interview all of these people several times were
prohibitive.
Letters were sent to all 72 young people on the expedition six months after
return from the expedition and 19 young people returned responses. Data presented
here are based on the 19 participants who completed the study, 12 of whom were
17 years of age (ve females; seven males) and seven of whom were 18 years of
age (three females, four males). All of the respondents are British citizens from a
variety of locations across the UK.
Inevitably this decision impacts on data that are received: some people are more
comfortable expressing themselves in written format while others prefer verbal,
some prefer groups while others prefer solo. In the future it might be interesting to
employ different methods for similar studies and also to consider alternative forms
of data such as paintings, collages and poetry to encourage young people to express
their experiences using a variety of media.
All letters were coded line by line to maintain context and keep data chunks
manageable. Two of the researchers engaged in an independent reading and coding
of data (Richards, 2009, pp. 108109; Silverman, 2001a, 2001b). This was done to
conrm that themes were inducted from data and not imposed on data and to ensure
reliability (consistently assigning comments to the same themes) (Greener, 2011,
pp. 94108).
Participation in the research was entirely voluntary. Contact with YEs after the
expedition was directly from the lead researcher rather than through the Society.
University ethical approval was received prior to undertaking the research. The fol-
lowing themes for analysis: Sense of Isolation, Extending the Lessons of the Group
and Using the Group as a Compass for the Future.
Presentation of themes and discussion
Sense of Isolation
Many of the participants reported that the expedition to Greenland had been so
unique that it was difcult to share it or communicate it to others in a meaningful
way. One respondent implied a different way of being when around those who were
on the expedition:
Apparently I have become vacant again (according to my mum), having just spent this
weekend with people from the Greenland expedition at the reunion, and I cant stop
thinking about them. (Mr. D)
Others talked about how hard it was to process what they had experienced. For
example, this person sought others out who had been on the expedition saying:
We have had some really good reunions. I have spoken to someone from the expedi-
tion every week and seen someone virtually every other week. I think that we all
needed to talk to each other because it is so difcult to talk to people who didntgo
on the expedition. (Mr. M)
8P. Allison et al.
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
These sentiments were echoed:
The most annoying thing is that no one else in the real world knows what it was like. Its
not their fault, but its still annoying. With everyone from the re being so spread out all
over the UK, I cant even discuss or reminisce our adventures frequently. (Miss F)
Anal example of this Sense of Isolation:
I met most of my friends the day after I got back. I went into the pub brimming with
condence with an Ive just got back from a major expeditionfeeling. Nobody asked
me how it was; nobody was really interested when I told them where Id been. The
big news was all about who got offwith whom the night before. Thats when I
really landed, from the high of the expedition. (Mr. F)
These comments can be connected to the work of Rea (2006) whose study of an
expedition to Iceland noted that the majority of reection took place in discussion
with others. In doing so he questioned much of the received wisdom in OEL litera-
ture which assumes that experience is followed by reection as a primarily individ-
ual process (Roberts, 2008; Seaman, 2008). However, Reas work concentrated on
the facilitation and reection processes during the expedition rather than afterwards.
The sense of wanting to share the reection is particularly evident in the above
comment. What is clear from these data is that on return from expedition people
experienced a sense of isolation and loneliness as they adjusted from their time and
experiences in the wilderness to their home community where there were not others
around who apparently could appreciate and share their experience. This nding
supports Oberg (1960) and subsequent CS and RCS literature outlined above. In
particular Obergs sixth category: feelings of impotence at inability to copy with, or
integrate into the new environment.
The themes of loneliness and isolation speak to the difculty that some face
when leaving an expedition. There seems to be a sense of loss and grief that is
experienced during the adjustment phase. These topics have not been addressed
when talking about ERCS or other outdoor experiences generally. Perhaps issues of
CS, loss, grief and separation could be addressed with participants during pre-expe-
dition preparation and during the nal days of the expedition when return is immi-
nent and ERCS probable.
Indirectly related to this issue of grief and support for young people an Austra-
lian study (Abbott-Chapman, Denholm, & Wyld, 2008) found that young people
with a wide range of social support are less likely to participate in risk-taking activ-
ities than those with a small support network. The same study found that both par-
ents and pre-service professionals placed greater value on wilderness and adventure
programmes than students (p. 626). Although the work had a different focus to the
present research, the support from a social network is important (also evident in the
above quotations) in providing a stable context for young people to make choices.
This is supported by Allison and Von Wald (2010) and Phillips (2010).
A further explanation of this post-expedition sense of loss can be found by consid-
ering the work of Scippa (1997) and Scott (1997), both of whom propose that humans
are in a constant state of grieving but that this grieving does not have to relate to death
per se. Scippa argues that from an early age humans grieve leaving their mothers,
when school friends move away and even when leaving places they have been.
Leisure Studies 9
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
Viewing grieving as a normative post-expedition transition is an acknowledge-
ment of the closeness that occurs in expeditions, the value that people place on their
re mates, as well as ERCS. Preparing young people to draw on their social
network for support during this time of transition may be useful.
Extending the Lessons of the Group
Discussions about lessons learned from the group process and how these lessons
affected ERCS were common. There was an emphasis on using the lessons learned
while working and living with the expedition group after the expedition was over.
Some of these lessons involved interacting with others in a different way. For
example:
The expedition itself taught me a lot too about being a member of a group and partic-
ularly about showing tolerance to others and dealing with individuals in awkward situ-
ations. (Mr. F)
The above can be read as an illustration of developing an ability to recognise
what Oberg (1960) described as signs and symbols associated with daily social
interactions. Similar to the above quote, the ERCS period was affected by lessons
learned in the group. After the expedition one YE explained how their interaction
patterns changed:
Ive really chilled out since Ive been back. I tend to let negative things just pass over
my head. I really dont care when someone is being annoying or acting unusual. I let
them get on with their life and I get on with mine. (Miss F)
Furthermore, the following comments really illustrate very directly how the les-
sons from the group affected adjustment in life after the expedition and how they
changed their patterns of interaction:
I used to just voice my opinions and expect everyone else to be thinking the same.
Now I want to know what everyone thinks, even if it leads to arguments over differ-
ences of opinion. Im more tolerant of my family and friends. (Miss G)
These lessons were used and adjustments made since the expedition ended:
Ive made the most amazing friends from people in Cornwall to Yorkshire to
Edinburgh and Ive learned from forming these friendships Im trying not to be so
judgmental, and I know that rst impressions are rarely right. (Miss G)
Finally, for many the power of the group not only affected their interpersonal
relationships, but the way they saw themselves. The expedition seemed to open the
world for some, increasing their self-condence after the expedition. These comments
can be tentatively connected to the U curve theory (discussed above) and might indi-
cate the latter stages of the curve as ERCS come to an end and individuals gain a
sense of autonomy over their lives. This was illustrated when one YE explained:
I think the expedition has given me a totally different outlook on life and a strong
urge to travel to other isolated places again, and I will certainly be back in Greenland.
(Miss J)
10 P. Allison et al.
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
This was echoed by another comment:
I think that my perspective on life changed over the summer. I now look on life as a
mass of opportunities and challenges rather than a narrow route that has to be
followed to the university, get a job, etc. (Miss W)
This sense of empowerment can be seen in the same persons further comment:
Since I have returned from Greenland I have done things that I would denitely not
have done before I left, for example, overcoming my fear of drunk people by going
down to the pub with my mates on New Years eve.
Thus, it can be seen through these comments that young people are taking the
lessons learned through their expedition experience and extending them into their
lives whether it be to home, further study or employment. Furthermore, the lessons
span a range of aspects of their personal development including becoming more
chilled out, tolerant of others, less judgmental; pursuing opportunities for further
travel and considering life to involve a mass of opportunities and endless options.
In summary, it appears that people take the intense learning experiences of the
group, who they did not know before the expedition, into their home community to
inform their way of beingin the world.
Participantsletters reected the uniqueness of their experiences, thereby set-
ting them apart from friends and family, making reintegration at home difcult
and illustrating ERCS. The changes reported both inter- and intra-personally as a
result of the group experience lasted as least as long as the follow-up period of
six months. Participants saw themselves as reacting with greater tolerance, less
judgement and more compassion toward others. They felt more self-condence
and were more willing to tackle the world. These ndings develop Stott and
Halls (2003, p. 167) suggestion to research the contribution of skills and traits
developed on expeditions to higher education, employment and life in the future.
Our ndings indicate that the skills and traits developed do contribute to life
beyond the expedition and that young people consider them to be valuable.
Advantages, disadvantages and the complexity of transfer of learning in similar
contexts are usefully summarised by Brown (2010). However, for the purposes of
this paper, elements of ERCS can be seen in the comments some of which hint
at supporting the U curve model.
Using the Group as a Compass for the Future
Expedition participants frequently talked about using their experience on the expedi-
tion to direct their lives as they adapted to post-expedition life. This often translated
into important decisions about future careers and education. As a result, a big part
of ERCS involved making plans and decisions. One person explained that the expe-
dition focused them on their future. Another talked more in-depth about the impact
of the expedition:
I also decided that I didnt want to do the normas far as possible. Ive slowly man-
aged to readjust to school and work, but decided to take a year out before hopefully
studying medicine. I dont think I would have been prepared to take 12 months out
before. (Miss S)
Leisure Studies 11
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
Learning things about oneself on the expedition helped shape subsequent deci-
sions about education. After the expedition, this YE decided to apply to university
to study social anthropology:
I have learnt that not only do I have a thirst for knowledge about other peoples life-
styles, I need to be surrounded by people, and also have access to open areas, and so
I applied accordingly. (Miss H)
This theme is illustrated further by comments on the effect of the expedition on
post-expedition life plans:
The main point I think is that the expedition has put an aim into my life and has given
me plans for the future. It was whilst in Greenland that I nally made up my mind,
much to the disappointment of my parents who wanted me to follow in my brothers
footsteps (a degree in physics and engineering) that I chose sports science with out-
door activities at Leeds University. (Mr. B)
One of the ndings was that the expedition seemed to be a clarifying and struc-
turing experience for the participants. This theme does not appear to twith the
literature on RCS other than (tenuously) with the end of the U curve model (Adler,
1975). This study suggests, however, that certain outdoor programmes may be used
as clarifying experiences, where young people have a chance to make decisions
about their future and set their course. This relates to the work of Hockey (2009)
on life course. Her research examined young peoples perceptions of their future
and drew distinctions between destructuredand standardisedlife courses. The
present research provides evidence that young people gained a rich understanding
of opportunities and plans for the future which goes beyond a binary conception of
destructuredor standardisedlife courses.
A further point of interest here relates to recent polemics regarding early adult-
hood. Côté and Bynner (2008) use the term to refer to people in their 20s experi-
encing a prolonged transition to adulthood. It may be that expedition experiences,
such as those researched in this paper, could assist people to move through this
transition more quickly, comfortably, smoothly and easily. Perhaps most importantly
of all, such experiences may assist young adults to become more responsible mem-
bers of society regardless of whether they have a destructuredor standardised
life course, or some combination.
Literature on adjustment post-experience
The three themes that emerged from this research indicate a gap in the current expe-
dition literature which is worthy of further attention and contributes to the extant lit-
erature on RCS. One might argue that further attention to this area is ethically
required and/or that such attention is crucial in rst understanding the phenomenon
and second that increased knowledge will enable educators and leaders to enhance
the value of such experiences.
Schroeder, Wood, Galiardi, and Koehn (2009) researched the impact of study-
abroad experiences on local communities and found that there were few if any
mechanisms in place to minimise harm. They recommended that substantial
planning, group facilitation and debrieng of student and community members
were three ways in which harm could be minimised. While they were not focused
12 P. Allison et al.
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
on post-experience adjustment their work indicates an area closely related to
expeditions where ethical concerns are being raised. Furthermore, there is no
mention in their paper of the adjustment of students returning from study abroad
programmes.
The present study relates to the literature on CS and RCS reviewed in the early
part of this paper. However, this research differs in that participants in the expedi-
tion were involved in very little local culture as part of the expedition experience.
Rather they were involved in what can be characterised as an intensive group
residential experience. The expedition and the various subgroups inevitably
develop their own culture and when students return to the UK they have reported a
sense of isolation which is contrasting to their experience on expedition. We refer
to this as expedition reverse culture shock.
Furthermore, the current research appears to support, to some extent, the U
curve theory (Adler, 1975) whereby participants are reporting after six months a
range of experiences which further research might usefully be designed to examine
in light of the U curve theory. Further, the six stages of CS (Oberg, 1960) appear to
be tentatively supported by this research. While this research did not consider stages
of CS the three themes identied six months after returning all indicate aspects of
the six stages. Further research could take a stage-based deductive approach to
explore this further (Hennink, Hutter, & Bailey, 2011, p. 218).
Conclusions
This research focused on gaining an initial understanding of young peoples experi-
ences of returning home after an expedition on the basis of empirical evidence. We
believed that there may be some connections to the literature on CS and more spe-
cically RCS. Data collected six months after an expedition to Greenland provide
some initial insights into ERCS and conrm that there is value in considering the
small youth expedition through the lens of the RCS literature to make some concep-
tual sense. Theoretically we are proposing what Richards (2009, p. 137) refers to as
substantive theory which she describes as local to your [the] data. We have
referred to the phenomenon explored as ERCS which builds on RCS literature. In
doing so we considered other terms such as expedition reverse social shock(to
emphasise the social nature of the shock given the intimacy of the expedition expe-
rience), residential reverse culture/social shock(to emphasise the importance of
the residential component) and intensive residential reverse culture shock(as a
combination of the above). These options also illustrate areas that may prove fruit-
ful for further research (further discussed below).
The expedition presented in this paper is not really an educational programme,
nor therapeutic or therapy, but can be considered to be focused on personal devel-
opment. It sits at the juncture of non-formal education, recreation/adventure travel
and youth work.
In the current study, participants reected on their lives and the meaning of the
expedition in making decisions about their futures. Though further work needs to be
done to explore the ERCS of young people as they return from expeditions, we have
made some initial suggestions for providing additional value for expedition partici-
pants, based on the ndings of this study. Based on initial data analysis, we have
suggested that expedition planning includes discussion about isolation upon return,
ways of taking learning from their expedition experience back to their home
Leisure Studies 13
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
environment and ways they can keep drawing on their experience as a compass for
their life. We have also suggested that support continues after the expedition to
address these concerns. Often, expedition participants live a great distance from each
other and cannot meet easily for reunions. Support via e-mail, social networking sites
or internet discussion groups could be built into programmes in order to facilitate sup-
port. These suggestions may be generalisable to a variety of contexts where young
people are experiencing changes, particularly changes related to life and context tran-
sitions. Of course, research on the above suggestions might prove to be fruitful.
Future directions
It might be interesting to see how this exploration of the self and associated shock
is a developmental function that is not uniform across all age groups. Perhaps, older
participants explore these themes differently than do younger participants. As men-
tioned above, further work based on the U curve and six stages of CS might prove
useful theory testing.
Furthermore, it might be fruitful to undertake similar work regarding adjust-
ments in other phases of life and contexts such as young people making adjust-
ments from living in a care home or people of different ages adjusting from
experiences such as working and living abroad. Notwithstanding the cliché that fur-
ther research is requiredit seems reasonable to speculate that the themes from this
study might inform practice in other youth development contexts, particularly those
involving residential experiences of some kind and benet from connections to
RCS literature. One obvious area for further work involves studying the use of
social media to support ERCS which could be contrasted with people who have
undertaken expeditions in the past when such media were not available.
Finally, the role of clarity and decision-making in ERCS is an area of study that
could further elucidate the changes that take place as a result of expeditionary learn-
ing. Facilitating ERCS is an ongoing responsibility for leaders and programmes
when considering the support of participants after their return from the eld. In a
time when some outdoor programmes are in danger of closing, assisting young
people in making these critical life decisions may be an important niche for
expedition-based outdoor programmes.
Notes on contributors
Peter Allison, PhD, FRGS, is a senior lecturer at the Institute for Sport, Physical Education
and Health Sciences at The Moray House School of Education, The University of
Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Jennifer Davis-Berman, MSW, PhD, a social worker, is professor in the Department of
Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work at the University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, USA.
Dene Berman, PhD, ABPP, is a psychologist with Lifespan Counselling Associates and
Clinical Professor at the School of Professional Psychology, Wright State University,
Dayton, OH, USA.
References
Abbott-Chapman, J., Denholm, C., & Wyld, C. (2008). Social support as a factor inhibiting
teenage risk-taking: Views of students, parents and professionals. Journal of Youth
Studies, 11(6), 611627.
14 P. Allison et al.
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
Adler, P. (1975). The transition experience: An alternative view of culture shock. Journal of
Humanistic Psychology, 15,1323.
Allison, P. (2000). Research from the ground up: Post expedition adjustment. Cumbria:
Brathay Hall Trust.
Allison, P. (2002). Values, narrative and authenticity: A study of youth expeditions in the
1990s (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Strathclyde, Scotland.
Allison, P. (2007). When I stop and think about it ... Further research is not required. In I.
Turkova, D. Bartunek, & A. Martin (Eds.), Proceedings from Third International Moun-
tain and Outdoor Sports Conference Hruba Skala (pp. 7891). Prague: International
Young Nature Friends.
Allison, P., & Beames, S. (2010). Feature article: The changing geographies of overseas
expeditions. International Journal of Wilderness, 16(3), 3542.
Allison, P., & Higgins, P. (2002). Ethical adventures: Can we justify what is done in the
name of education. Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 6(2), 2226.
Allison, P., & Von Wald, K. (2010). Exploring values and personal and social development:
Learning through expeditions. Pastoral Care in Education, 28(3), 219233.
Allison, P., Stott, T., Felter, J., & Beames, S. (2011). Overseas youth expeditions.
In M. Berry & C. Hodgson (Eds.), Adventure education: An introduction (pp.187205).
London: Routledge.
Barret, J., & Greenaway, R. (1995). Why adventure? The role and value of Outdoor
Adventure in Young Peoples Personal and Social Development A Review of Research.
Foundation for Outdoor Adventure.
Beames, S. (2004a). Overseas youth expeditions with Raleigh International: A rite of
passage? Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 8(1), 2936.
Beames, S. (2004b). Critical elements of an expedition experience. Journal of Adventure
Education and Outdoor Learning, 4(2), 145158.
Bonache, J., Brewster, C., & Suutari, V. (2001). Expatriation: A developing research agenda.
Thunderbird International Business Review, 43(1), 320.
Brown, M. (2010). Transfer: Outdoor adventure educations Achilles heel? Changing
participation as a viable option. Australian Journal of Outdoor Education, 14(1), 1322.
Cash, T.F., Begley, P.J., McGown, D.A., & Weise, B.C. (1975). When counsellors are heard
but not seen: Initial impact of physical attractiveness. Journal of Counselling Psychology,
22, 273279.
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research methods in education. London:
Routledge.
Côté, J., & Bynner, J.M. (2008). Changes in the transition to adulthood in the UK and
Canada: The role of structure and agency in emerging adulthood. Journal of Youth
Studies, 11(3), 251268.
Crotty, M. (1998). The foundations of social research. London: Sage.
Davis-Berman, J., & Berman, D. (2008). The promise of wilderness therapy. Boulder, CO:
The Association for Experiential Education.
Donnison, P. (2000). Images of outdoor management development (Unpublished doctoral
thesis), Lancaster University, Department of Management Learning.
Dowling, P., & Brown, A. (2010). Doing research/reading research. London: Sage.
Fail, H., Thompson, J., & Walker, G. (2004). Belonging, identity and third culture kids: Life
histories of former international school students. Journal of Research in International
Education, 3(3), 319338. doi: 10.1177/1475240904047358
Flick, U. (2007). Managing quality in qualitative research. London: Sage.
Furnham, A. (1984). Tourism and culture shock. Annals of Tourism Research, 11,4157.
Gair, N. (1997). Outdoor education: Theory into practice. London: Cassell.
Gaw, K.F. (1995, August). Reverse culture shock in students returning from overseas. Paper
presented at the 103rd annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, New
York.
Gill, S., & Goodson, I. (2011). Life history and narrative methods. In B. Somekh & C.
Lewin (Eds.), Theory and methods in social research (pp. 157165). London: Sage.
Greener, I. (2011). Designing social research. London: Sage.
Leisure Studies 15
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
Greffrath, G., Meyer, C., Strydom, H., & Ellis, S. (2011). Centre-based and expedition-based
(wilderness) adventure experiential learning regarding personal effectiveness: An explor-
ative enquiry. Leisure Studies, 30(3), 345364.
Grifths, D.S., Winstanley, D., & Gabriel, Y. (2005). Learning shock: The trauma of return
to formal learning. Management Learning, 36(3), 275297. doi: 10.1177/
1350507605055347
Hattie, J., Marsh, H.W., Neill, J.T., & Richards, G.E. (1997). Adventure education and
outward bound: Out-of-class experiences that make a lasting difference. Review of
Educational Research, 67(1), 4387.
Hennink, M., Hutter, I., & Bailey, A. (2011). Qualitative research methods. London: Sage.
Hirshon, J.M., Eng, T.R., Brunkow, K.A., & Hartzell, N. (1997). Psychological and readjust-
ment problems associated with emergency evacuation of Peace Corps volunteers. Journal
of Travel Medicine, 4, 128131.
Hockey, J. (2009). The life course anticipated: Gender and chronologisation among young
people. Journal of Youth Studies, 12(2), 227241.
Jones, A. (2004). Review of gap year provision, DfES research report RR555. London:
Department for Education and Skills.
Kennedy, A. (1992). The expedition experience as a vehicle for change in the inner city.
Penrith: Adventure Education.
Kvale, S., & Brinkmann, S. (2009). Interviews: Learning the craft of qualitative research
interviewing. London: Sage.
Loynes, C. (2008). Social reform, militarism and other historical inuences on the practice
of outdoor education in youth work. In P. Becker & J. Schirp (Eds.), Other ways of
learning (pp. 7599). Marburg: BSJ.
McIntyre, N., & Roggenbuck, J.W. (1998). Nature/person transactions during an outdoor
experience: A multi-phasic analysis. Journal of Leisure Research, 30(4), 401422.
Mind the gap year. (2008). Mind the gap year: About us. Retrieved January 17, 2011, from
http://www.mindthegapyear.com/aboutus.php
Oberg, K. (1960). Culture shock: Adjustment to new cultural environments. Practical
Anthropology, 17, 177182.
Patterson, M.E., Watson, A.E., Williams, D.R., & Roggenbuck, J.R. (1998). A hermeneutic
approach to studying the nature of wilderness experience. The Journal of Leisure
Research, 30(4), 423452.
Phillips, R.F. (2010). Initiatives to support disadvantaged young people: Enhancing social
capital and acknowledging personal capital. Journal of Youth Studies, 13(4), 489504.
Pyvis, D., & Chapman, A. (2005). Culture shock and the international student offshore.
Journal of Research in International Education, 4,2342. doi: 10.1177/
1475240905050289
Rea, T. (2006). Its not as if weve been teaching them ... reective thinking in the outdoor
classroom. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 6(2), 121134.
Richards, L. (2009). Handling qualitative data. London: Sage.
Roberts, J. (2008). From experience to neo-experiential education: Variations on a theme.
Journal of Experiential Education, 31(1), 1935.
Royal Geographical Society. (2009). Joining an expedition. Retrieved October 16, 2009,
from http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Fieldwork+and+Expeditions/Joining+an+expedition/
Joining+an+expedition.htm
Royal Geographical Society. (2010). Taking a gap year: Gap year planning tool kit.
Retrieved January 17, 2011, from http://www.rgs.org/OurWork/Schools/CareersAndFur-
therStudy/Gap+year.htm
Russell, K.C. (2007). An updated nationwide survey of programs and summary of research
in the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Research Cooperative from 19992006 (Technical
Report 2). University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN: Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare
Research Cooperative, College of Education and Human Development.
Schoeld, J.W. (1993). Increasing the generalisability of qualitative research. In M.
Hammersley (Ed.), Educational research: Current issues (pp. 91113). London: Open
University Press.
16 P. Allison et al.
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
Schroeder, K., Wood, C., Galiardi, S., & Koehn, J. (2009). First, do no harm: Ideas for miti-
gating negative community impacts of short-term study abroad. Journal of Geography,
108(3), 141147.
Scippa, M.A. (1997, March). Grieving. Conference presentation. Heartland region AEE con-
ference. Camp Tecumseh, IN.
Scott, S.M. (1997). Grieving as a dynamic process in transformation. Proceedings of the
27th Annual SCUTREA Conference, University of London, London, 409412.
Seaman, J. (2008). Experience, reect, critique: The end of the learning cyclesera. Journal
of Experiential Education, 31(1), 318.
Silverman, D. (2001a). Interpreting qualitative data: Methods for analysing talk, text and
interaction (2nd ed.). London: Sage.
Silverman, D. (2001b). Interpreting qualitative data. London: Sage.
Stewart, L., & Legatt, P.A. (1998). Culture shock and travelers. Journal of Travel Medicine,
5,8488.
Stott, T., & Hall, N. (2003). Changes in aspects of studentsself-reported personal, social
and technical skills during a six-week wilderness expedition in arctic Greenland. Journal
of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 3(2), 159169.
Takano, T. (2010). A 20-year retrospective study of the impact of expeditions on Japanese
participants.Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning, 10(2), 7794.
Thomas, G., & James, D. (2006). Re-inventing grounded theory: Some questions about
theory, ground and discovery. British Educational Research Journal, 32(6), 767795.
Thomas, G., Potter, T., & Allison, P. (2009). A tale of three journals: An investigation of the
development and futures of AJOE, JAEOL and JEE. Australian Journal of Outdoor
Education, 13(1), 1629.
Wurdinger, S. (1997). Philosophical issues in adventure education. Dubuque, IA: Kendall
Hunt.
Leisure Studies 17
Downloaded by [Dr Pete Allison] at 11:35 24 October 2011
... However, the data also demonstrate how in the absence of ongoing support to expand a way of understanding, people will generally fall back on their existing frames of reference. This is consistent with OAE literature suggesting post-program activities and support may help to maintain program outcomes over the longer term (Allison et al., 2012;Brown, 2010;Leberman & Martin, 2004;Schary et al., 2015Schary et al., , 2016. Consequently, what happens beyond program completion is likely to be relevant for facilitating developmental growth. ...
... Third, the long-lasting effects experienced in connection with the community project (both positive and negative) highlight the important role that the post-program experience has on program outcomes. This suggests that building effective post-program follow-up and support into program design may lead to improvements in long-term program outcomes, consistent with some of the OAE literature (Allison et al., 2012;Brown, 2010;Leberman & Martin, 2004;Schary, et al., 2015Schary, et al., , 2016. Key to this process are opportunities for further challenges, reflection, and support. ...
Article
Full-text available
Using interpretative phenomenological analysis and Kegan’s constructive-developmental theory (1982, 1994), this study investigated how developmental stage shaped the subjective experiences of 13 adolescents (Mage = 15.92; 54% female) in a developmental coaching and outdoor adventure education program. Participants were drawn from socioeconomically disadvantaged schools in Sydney, Australia, and represented Asian, Middle Eastern, and Anglo-Saxon ethnicities. A single semi-structured interview was conducted with participants post-program, following protocols approved by an institutional ethics committee. Interview data were used to investigate participants’ meaning-making structures as evidence of constructive-developmental stage. We found that, despite being similar ages at program commencement, participants displayed a range of constructive-developmental stages. The data demonstrate how participants at different stages of meaning-making experienced the same activities differently, including what they experienced as challenging and supportive. Furthermore, our findings suggest that there is an important role for developmental coaching in scaffolding program challenges to stimulate constructive-developmental growth. Constructive-developmental theory is an important interpretive framework for understanding the different ways in which adolescents make meaning of developmental programs. We hope the findings from this study will help those who design and implement these programs to appreciate constructive-developmental differences in their participants to better target interventions aimed at facilitating developmental growth.
... The original friends of returnees might see their friends as acquiring international certificates and respect them more, therefore, those returnees can influence their friends positively. Most of the literature related to the relationship between returnees and their friends seems to be negative (Allison et al., 2012;Brabant, et.al's, 1990;Butcher, 2002). For example, Brabant, Palmer, & Gramling's (1990) research investigating the common problems faced by foreign students from Lebanon, Venezuela, Nigeria and Switzerland, followed their sojourn at an American campus. ...
... Similar to Butcher's (2002) study, Brabant, et.al's (1990) study found that a large number of the returnees lost many of their friends. Possible reasons for these findings were explained by Allison et al. (2012) claiming that the problems with unstable relationships with friends after returning home were because friends seemed to be uninterested in the exciting and enlightening experiences of the participants studying abroad. ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this research is to describe the characteristics of the re-entry experiences of Saudis returning to Saudi Arabia after studying abroad. The total number of participants in the study was 21, consisting of 13 male and 8 female participants returning from studying in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. By conducting semi-structured individual interviews with the participants, the findings showed six themes including motivations for returning home, preparing for returning home, feelings on returning home, the nature of relationships with family, the nature of relationships with friends and sense of belonging. Implications of the findings and directions for future research are provided.
Article
Background: Youth expeditions are regarded as beneficial and even “life-changing” experiences for young people, however the evidence on their perceived long-term impact is limited. Purpose: The purpose of this research was to examine the perceived long-term influence of expeditions in participants’ lives 29 and more years after going on a 3–6 week land-based self-sufficient wilderness expedition. Methodology/Approach: This study used a retrospective two-phase sequential research design. The first phase involved a web-based survey followed by individual semi-structured interviews in the second phase. Findings/Conclusions: For the majority of the 144 web-based survey respondents (93.8%), their first BES expedition experience was “enjoyable and meaningful”. Twenty-six interviews were conducted with people who had gone on their first BES expedition 29 to 66 years ago. Interviewed participants perceived seven long-lasting influences of expeditions: (1) ‘Connecting with others’, (2) ‘Fulfilling potential’ such as gaining confidence and resilience, (3) ‘Development of leisure activities and outdoor knowledge/skills’, (4) ‘Knowing thyself’, (5) ‘Sharing the experience’ to others, (6) ‘Impact on academic and professional life’, and (7) ‘Connecting with nature and the world’. Implications: This study provides evidence that the influence of wilderness expedition experiences can be long-lasting and significant on participants’ lives 29 and more years later.
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of Saudi Arabian university students returning home after having spent time away studying internationally. The investigation focused exclusively on female students who for diverse reasons were unable to complete their studies abroad. Design/methodology/approach A thematic analysis was applied to analyze the seven in-depth interviews conducted by the authors. By using an open coding method analytic patterns across the entire data set were identified and then analyzed. Findings The findings suggest that the students experienced reverse culture shock reintegrating and assimilating into their former lives in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its conservative culture. This was especially surprising considering not one of the participants experienced culture shock when they first traveled to their host country – the USA, Canada or England. Research limitations/implications The study is limited to a small group of seven female undergraduates who are comparatively well educated and come from a middle and upper socioeconomic demographic. As a result, without additional research, the findings cannot be extended to groups outside of this demographic. Practical implications Students who have studied abroad need improved academic and social support networks when they return home, according to the findings. The authors want to raise awareness about the difficulties that students face upon their return. Teachers, counselors, and advisors need to be on the lookout for the symptomatology associated with these types of problems. Social implications Female Saudi students returning home after an extended period of study abroad face a variety of problems. They must fit into a restrictive, partriarchal culture in which they are not legally equal to men. Originality/value To date, there are no studies that shed light on reverse culture shock for students who returned to Saudi Arabia without a degree. Due to the large number of Saudi scholarship holders who study in English-speaking countries with government support, the study is the first attempt in this direction.
Chapter
Journeys and expeditions are an important practice in outdoor and environmental education which often get overlooked or may be under-valued. The benefits of journeys and expeditions are considerable and an understanding of their historical development is helpful in gaining insights into current outdoor practices in a multitude of contexts and cultures. This chapter begins by reviewing a few iconic explorers and their journeys and expeditions, highlighting the broad use of the terms and a range of different purposes before examining the benefits and the learning processes involved (primarily focusing on young people and youth development). Research points clearly to the benefits across multiple domains and over extended periods of time. Studies draw on Philosophy, Psychology, Education and Sociology and indicate consistent and considerable contributions to moral development, spiritual growth, environmental stewardship, personal and social development alongside GRIT and resilience. Challenges for planning, executing and managing journeys and expeditions are discussed, these include: time; cost; environmental impact and expedition reverse culture shock, which can all contribute to making the justification for incorporating journeys and/or expeditions into educational curricula all the more difficult. It is important that those working in this area are aware of these challenges and learn to manage them appropriately in order to gain optimum benefit from these powerful outdoor learning tools.
Article
Full-text available
This research aims to describe the challenges of Saudis' re-entry experiences returning to Saudi Arabia after studying abroad. The total number of participants in the research was 21, consisting of 13 male and eight female participants returning from studying in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. With semi-structured individual interviews, the overall findings of this study showed that the returnees experienced some socio-cultural challenges that eventually dissipated over time and few educational challenges related to their work field. Implications of the findings and directions for future research are provided.
Article
Full-text available
In the UK an increasing number of young people go on overseas expeditions which vary in length from one week to three months. In recent years a number of accidents and fatalities have led to media coverage questioning the educational value of such experiences. This paper examines some of the issues arising from increased participation in such expeditions. A brief contextualisation is offered prior to raising a number of questions and issues regarding ethical issues associated with overseas youth expeditions within an educational context. These include issues associated with acclimatisation to high altitude, cultural sensitivity, pedagogy, finances, and drugs. The second part of the paper considers certification and accreditation of youth expeditions in light of these ethical issues and examines some of the complex issues associated with the multidimensional nature of both expeditions and any such accreditation or screening process. The paper concludes that a forum to address ethical issues raised demonstrates some of the traits of becoming a profession and could help to contribute to either a sound justification of practice or changing practice to be justifiable.
Chapter
Full-text available
Some of the shifts in modern society are understood to have placed the individual more centrally in the project of building an identity and choosing courses of action in life. This has led to a modern moral panic concerning 'problem' youth and the problems of youth. The roots of informal education outdoors are based in a moral panic of the late Victorian era. A concern for a social decline amongst the working classes, in particular a rise in the values of self interest and focussed on young men, coupled with a concern for the fitness of the British army, largely made up of these young men, led to several influential 'moral entrepreneurs' developing early forms of outdoor education to tackle these issues. I will suggest that informal education is again drawing on these early roots in outdoor education to respond to modern social issues concerning young people.
Article
Is it possible that all of the social sciences could employ a common methodology? If so, what would it be? This article adresses these questions. It takes off from James Coleman’s recent book, The Foundations of Social Theory. Coleman’s social theory is built on the postulate that individuals are rational actors, the same postulate that most of modern economics is built upon. This article critiques the use of this postulate in economics, and thus questions whether it is a useful building block for the methodological foundations of social science research. It proposes an adaptive view of human behavior as an alternative in which preferences are conditioned by past experience. The work of Joseph Schumpeter is discussed as an exemplar of the methodology advocated here.
Article
Few studies have addressed the changing nature of adventure recreation experience as it unfolds during the activity. This study explores a black-water rafting trip through a cave by examining person/nature transactions at selected points in the journey and by analyzing participants' post-trip written accounts about the experience. Key variables used to define the person-nature transaction included focus of attention, mood states, and perceptions of risk and competence. Study results indicated that each of these variables varied with environmental context. However, broad patterns of variation in these same variables were also evident across time and phase of the experience. In their personal accounts, participants in this extraordinary nature experience expressed many of the values that western cultures have attributed to natural places.
Article
The most prevalent approach to understanding recreation experiences in resource management has been a motivational research program that views satisfaction as an appropriate indicator of experience quality. This research explores a different approach to studying the quality of recreation experiences. Rather than viewing recreation experiences as a linear sequence of events beginning with expectations and ending with outcomes that are then cognitively compared to determine experience quality, this alternative approach views recreation as an emergent experience motivated by the not very well-defined goal of acquiring stories that ultimately enrich one's life. Further, it assumes that the nature of human experience is best characterized by situated freedom in which the environment sets boundaries that constrain the nature of the experience, but that within those boundaries recreationists are free to experience the world in unique and variable ways. Therefore this alternative approach seeks a more context specific description of the setting/experience relationship that is intended to complement more general management frameworks (e.g., the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum) developed in conjunction with the motivational research program.
Book
Preface Part I. Foundations of Research 1. Science, Schooling, and Educational Research Learning About the Educational World The Educational Research Approach Educational Research Philosophies Conclusions 2. The Process and Problems of Educational Research Educational Research Questions Educational Research Basics The Role of Educational Theory Educational Research Goals Educational Research Proposals, Part I Conclusions 3. Ethics in Research Historical Background Ethical Principles Conclusions 4. Conceptualization and Measurement Concepts Measurement Operations Levels of Measurement Evaluating Measures Conclusions 5. Sampling Sample Planning Sampling Methods Sampling Distributions Conclusions Part II. Research Design and Data Collection 6. Causation and Research Design Causal Explanation Criteria for Causal Explanations Types of Research Designs True Experimental Designs Quasi-Experimental Designs Threats to Validity in Experimental Designs Nonexperiments Conclusions 7. Evaluation Research What Is Evaluation Research? What Can an Evaluation Study Focus On? How Can the Program Be Described? Creating a Program Logic Model What Are the Alternatives in Evaluation Design? Ethical Issues in Evaluation Research Conclusions 8. Survey Research Why Is Survey Research So Popular? Errors in Survey Research Questionnaire Design Writing Questions Survey Design Alternatives Combining Methods Survey Research Design in a Diverse Society Ethical Issues in Survey Research Conclusions 9. Qualitative Methods: Observing, Participating, Listening Fundamentals of Qualitative Research Participant Observation Intensive Interviewing Focus Groups Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods Ethical Issues in Qualitative Research Conclusions 10. Single-Subject Design Foundations of Single-Subject Design Measuring Targets of Intervention Types of Single-Subject Designs Analyzing Single-Subject Designs Ethical Issues in Single-Subject Design Conclusions 11. Mixing and Comparing Methods and Studies Mixed Methods Comparing Reserch Designs Performing Meta-Analyses Conclusions 12. Teacher Research and Action Research Teacher Research: Three Case Studies Teacher Research: A Self-Planning Outline for Creating Your Own Project Action Research and How It Differs From Teacher Research Validity and Ethical Issues in Teacher Research and Action Research Conclusions Part III. Analyzing and Reporting Data 13. Quantitative Data Analysis Why We Need Statistics Preparing Data for Analysis Displaying Univariate Distributions Summarizing Univariate Distributions Relationships (Associations) Among Variables Presenting Data Ethically: How Not to Lie With Statistics Conclusions 14. Qualitative Data Analysis Features of Qualitative Data Analysis Techniques of Qualitative Data Analysis Alternatives in Qualitative Data Analysis Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Ethics in Qualitative Data Analysis Conclusions 15. Proposing and Reporting Research Educational Research Proposals, Part II Reporting Research Ethics, Politics, and Research Reports Conclusions Appendix A: Questions to Ask About a Research Article Appendix B: How to Read a Research Article Appendix C: Finding Information, by Elizabeth Schneider and Russell K. Schutt Appendix D: Table of Random Numbers Glossary References Author Index Subject Index About the Authors