Learning From The Media: Perceptions of "America" From Chinese Students and Scholars

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This research examines the perceptions that international students and scholars from China form of the United States. This thesis tracks the participants' recollection of their beliefs about the U.S. before arriving and examines the transformations that occurred because of lived circumstances and experiences. The research participants eagerly took advantage of the opportunity to visit and study at American universities, believing that this country had the best there was to offer in terms of educational quality. This perceived superiority of the U.S. was believed to extend into other social and cultural categories as well. Through examining the participant's imagined ideals of life in the U.S. the objective is to understand the importance individuals and lived experiences play in the reception and interpretation of cultural images, as well as foreground the "individual" as the main site to examine the intersection of the "global" and the "local". This is meant to elevate the importance of the individual when studying the impact and influence of globalization in the lives of individuals. By using Appadurai's notion of mediascapes as a means to study popular culture the goal is to understand the local and the global in studying the connection between the imagination and globalization.