Critical ethnographic analysis of doing good on short-term international immersion experiences.
Elliot, Michelle L.
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Elliot, M. (2015) Critical ethnographic analysis of doing good on short-term international immersion experiences., Occupational Therapy International, vol. 22, , pp. 121-130,
Reciprocal partnerships are growing alongside the rise of international learning and doing- experiences for students and clinicians. This paper questions how global citizenship, the acquisition of awareness and skills to sensitively navigate through a rapidly globalized social world, is cultivated amidst international partnerships focused on short-term immersion opportunities. Using an ethnographic methodology to examine the experiences of occupational therapy students abroad, this paper addresses the potential for competing agendas when the motivation to participate within these partnerships is driven in part by a desire to do good.- The empirical lens was directed towards the students' verbal, written and enacted narratives rather than the sociocultural realm of the sending institution, the host organization or the occupational realities of the local communities, therefore is limited in discursive scope. Nevertheless, the need is great for further critical appraisal of objectives and expectations by all parties to foster a partnership culture of reciprocity and equality and to diminish the neocolonial legacy of Western expertise dissemination. By examining how the stated and implied desire to do good exists alongside the risk to do harm to individuals and international networks, the conclusions can be extended locally to highlight the challenges to partnering up- between clinicians and patients.