The term heritage seekers or heritage learners describes Creighton students who study abroad in a specific country or culture that is familiar to them or to their family. For many students, studying abroad can be an opportunity to connect with their ancestral and personal history and culture.
Studying abroad as a heritage seeker can be a complex journey that brings expected, as well as unexpected, experiences and emotions. It can be incredibly rewarding to make community and cultural connections to one's ancestry or heritage, and for many heritage seeker study abroad students, this connection is nuanced with moments of cultural distinction. For example, students may at times be identified more as an American or a non-local. They might experience generalizations about their racial/ethnic identities or face different expectations from community members due to cultural ties. Yet through these complex experiences, heritage-seeking students often report a deeper understanding of their own identity through their time abroad.
Questions for Reflection
- Will there be other heritage seeking students on my study abroad program?
- How will I be viewed by people in my host country? Will I be expected to understand the culture, language, and norms like a local?
- In what ways can I get involved in the community of my host city/country?
- How should I navigate interactions with other study abroad students if they expect me to be an "expert" on my host country?