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To be Transformed: Emotions in Cross-Cultural, Field-Based Learning in Northern Australia

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Students undertaking field-based learning, in which they work with Indigenous people in Northern Australia, describe a profound learning experience redolent with emotion. Inspired, challenged and transformed, the students are compelled in ways that require them to interrogate their own selves and taken-for-granted beliefs. In this paper, we draw on empirical work with undergraduate students in geography and development studies to investigate what these cross-cultural experiences add to experiential learning models and recent work on emotional geographies. We find that an understanding of the sensory and emotive is imperative if we are to encourage students to build understanding across difference and connect with diverse people, places and experiences in fundamentally new ways.
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Keywords: Emotional geographies; Indigenous people; affect; cross-cultural education; experiential learning theory; student fieldwork

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Discipline of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Newcastle, Australia

Publication date: 01 August 2012

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