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Published: 2020-12-30

Community and Sense of Place in an International School Context

University of Bucharest, Department of Psychology
sense of place self-identification school


This study seeks to identify and explore the sense of place that Third Culture Kids (TCKs) have and the various interpretations that TCKs have regarding their lived reality, as they form part of the international community in Romania. This study contextually explores the sense of belonging to a place. The purpose of the study is to ascertain the role and ways of implementing "Place Based Education" in the context of international and multicultural education systems that serve TCK populations. This was done while trying to understand concepts from the expatriate way of life as expressed by TCKs who attend the American International School of Bucharest. Two main assumptions form the grounds of this study: When an international school combines an International Baccalaureate (IB) system with Place Based Education (PBE) criteria, would it contribute in creating a "Sense of Place" towards the school and contribute in creating a positive foreigner self-identification? This research aims to understand whether and how PBE can be implemented in an international school. Throughout two academic school years, field observations and interviews with students and school staff were conducted. The data analysis resulted in three main findings. The first finding was ambivalent feelings towards the host country that were connected to expressions of place attachment, place dependence and place identity. The second finding was self-identification as a TCK and a sense of belonging to an international community. The third and most surprising finding was a strong sense of place in relation to the school. This process led to comparing Place Based Education criteria to the criteria of the International Baccalaureate program and discovering that these two pedagogical worlds are overlapping and can therefore be easily combined.


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How to Cite

Lev, D. (2020). Community and Sense of Place in an International School Context. Studia Doctoralia, 11(2), 121–131.