Journaling & the DIE Model

Journaling: A Brief Overview

Journaling can be an important tool not only during but also after the study abroad experience; it can not only record events experienced abroad, but it can also “provide a reference for culture and language learning” and help throughout the culture shock process.  The journaling process itself may be time consuming, which is why the authors of Maximizing Study Abroad suggest getting into the habit of writing in one of two different journaling techniques: traditional and alternative.  The traditional journal documents daily events, routines, and reactions.  It records what happened as well as what the events are making you, as the international student, learn about “the situation, the culture, and yourself.”  The alternative journal changes the structure of the traditional journal technique of writing every event in detail to something less “overwhelming and sometimes quite boring.”  This technique separates the journal into four sections: impressions, descriptive, narrative, and expressive.  This alternative method is not necessarily chronological, but it documents different aspects (storytelling of what happened, personal reactions, etc) of events and days without requiring much detailed “listing” of events.

  • Paige et al. (2003).  Maximizing Study Abroad, pp. 119-123


Using the D-I-E Model of Debriefing

The D-I-E model is used to combat making judgments or conclusions about the host culture before being fully informed or aware.  It aids in understanding more fully what actions and events represent and what importance they have to a culture that might not be very familiar.  The first step is D: describe.  “Describe the situation in concrete, observable terms.”  The second is I: interpret.  “Try to find at least three different interpretations of the interaction or occurrence.”  And finally, E: evaluate.  “Evaluate what you observed or experienced.  Consider how you might have felt if you were a member of the host culture and held the dominant cultural values and beliefs.”  By following these three steps, you will find different perspectives and interpretations for unfamiliar cultural events and actions without “jumping to conclusions” or potentially offending others.  “The D-I-E process will help entitle you to your evaluations – positive or negative – because you have taken the time to reason through them and have worked to try to understand the occurrence from others’ perspectives.”

  • Paige et al. (2003).  Maximizing Study Abroad, pp. 115-116