A Journey between Identities: A Story of Education Students’ Journey to Ethiopia


Source: Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research 


The qualitative case study presented in this article describes and analyzes the experiences of Israeli education students, who joined a delegation to Ethiopia last year. This journey opened the doors of Ethiopia to the Ethiopian community’s younger generation, most of whom were born in Israel, and to the non-Ethiopian Israelis. During the journey, the participants coped with many challenges and a variety of experiences. They returned home having broken the stereotypes regarding the perception of Ethiopian Jewry, as well as racism, pluralism and relations between the majority and minority groups in Israel. In addition, the Ethiopian participants returned with the renewed identity and the new discourse that had been formed within the group as equal members of Israeli society.


The study presents promising new directions in the field of constructing identity and changing attitudes among representatives of majority and minority groups in a multicultural society. Understanding the events that occurred during the journey, the emotions that were aroused during the experience and in its aftermath, the participants’ behaviors and intrapersonal processes, were made possible thanks to each participant’s individual view, on the one hand, and to the group’s system-wide view, on the other. In addition, the study drew attention to the fact that the multicultural approach, increasingly advocated in higher education institutions in Israel and around the world, becomes far more significant when it breaks the boundaries of the classroom into the experience of a journey undertaken by a mixed cultural and social group. Thus, the journey to the self, to reconstructing one’s identity, and to a change of attitude occurs through a powerful experience, which has an impact on all those involved.

Updated: May. 20, 2019