Lost in Transition: A Two-Year Collaborative Autoethnography of South Korean Doctoral Students’ Development and Identity Negotiation


  • Miso Kim Tamagawa University
  • Eunhae Cho The Pennsylvania State University




collaborative autoethnography, South Korea, narrative, mediation, liminal space


This collaborative autoethnography (CAE) explores the lived experiences of two South Korean doctoral students’ transnational career transitions during 2019–2021. The purpose of the CAE is twofold: (a) to analyze international doctoral students’ development during the transition; and (b) to investigate negotiations of their intersectional identities. The data came from our biweekly multimodal narratives on our development (96 total) and biweekly meeting transcripts (48 total). We thematically analyzed (Braun & Clarke, 2006) the data first, found two themes, and reconstructed our two-ear narratives and visually represented them. The data analysis revealed that our major challenges during transition were to receive developmentally appropriate help (responsive mediation; Johnson & Golombek, 2016) and to build transnational, intersectional identities in a liminal space (Bhabha, 1994) between different geographical locations. Based on our two-year dialogue data, we offer suggestions for negotiating appropriate levels of mediation and reframing intersectional and liminal identities in a liberating way.

Author Biographies

Miso Kim, Tamagawa University

MISO KIM, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Center for English as a Lingua Franca, Tamagawa University, Japan. Her major research interests lie in applied linguistics, qualitative research in education, translingual practices, and feminism in second language education.

Eunhae Cho, The Pennsylvania State University

EUNHAE CHO, PhD candidate, is a doctoral student in the Department of Applied Linguistics, The Pennsylvania State University, USA. Her major interests lie in applied linguistics, qualitative research in education, and sociocultural approaches to second language learning.


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How to Cite

Kim, M., & Cho, E. (2022). Lost in Transition: A Two-Year Collaborative Autoethnography of South Korean Doctoral Students’ Development and Identity Negotiation. Journal of International Students, 12(S2), 50–67. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v12iS2.4338