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Journal of Applied Communication Research


Taylor & Francis


The concept of the sojourner has been studied in a variety of contexts, such as business, education, and international aid. However, there is as yet no communication research on the topic of the crisis sojourner. Consequently, the goal of this study was to explore experiences of crisis sojourners to determine what they perceive as effective and ineffective communication in intercultural settings. In-depth interviews were conducted with 20 emergency responders who deploy internationally following events such as the earthquake in Haiti or the Fukushima meltdown. Results showed crisis sojourners from this population were aware of cultural differences and highly alert to the emotional and physical pain of those they were attempting to assist. Furthermore, they were cognizant of cultural norms and had a strong desire to respect local values. These results yield implications for individuals who work as crisis sojourners, and questions about the need for intercultural crisis communication education for those who face such situations routinely.


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