Intercultural Aspects of the Youth Short-Term Labour Migration in the Framework of “Work and Travel” Program Cover Image

Междукултурни аспекти на младежката краткосрочна трудова миграция по програмата „Work and Travel“
Intercultural Aspects of the Youth Short-Term Labour Migration in the Framework of “Work and Travel” Program

Author(s): Zlatina Bogdanova
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН

Summary/Abstract: The paper is based on interviews with Bulgarian University students – participants in “Work and Travel” program, conducted in Sofia in 2003 and fieldwork material from interviews and observation in the campus of the American University in Bulgaria (AUB), Blagoevgrad, in September 2012. The study focuses on a popular cultural phenomenon accompanying the so called “transition” – the short-term labour migration of young Bulgarians to the United States. Working and traveling abroad within the framework of Work and Travel program is becoming more common and widely accessible cultural experience in recent years. Two main reasons motivate the participants in Work and Travel – the desire to work, driven by economic necessity and the need to have intercultural experience aboard. The intercultural aspects of the migration discussed in the paper include perceptions of intercultural differences, cultural subordination experienced in a more socially and economically advanced society, behaviour models expressing cultural relativism, manifestations of ethnocentrism, culture collision and culture shock. Identification and adaptation problems experienced by the participants are given special consideration. The research emphasizes the role of intercultural communication in a rapidly expanding work environment in which young people are compelled to endure multiple intercultural interactions and face significant social and personality effects. Eventually these shared experiences shape a specific youth community that could not be defined in opposition to the mainstream culture and could not be regarded as socially or economically excluded – on the opposite – this community has been actively involved in the economic and to a certain degree in the social life of a foreign country – the United States of America.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 3-4
  • Page Range: 118-135
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: Bulgarian