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An impact of international experiences sense and value sphere of a self actualizing person

Self actualization is the highest peak of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid. It is the highest peak of person’s development as well, a long lasting process which keeps a person in tension initiating new needs and further development. Self actualizing person does not have a deficit anymore, but has “motivation growth”. This “growth motivation” is an unstoppable desire to realize your talent and needs, to be all that you were made to be, to go ahead, to reach new peaks and never stop doing this, to widen the boundaries and to have a continuous personal growth. This is when you seek to be your most Fullest Self, your God Self or your Actual Self [1].

The people who can be characterized as self actualizing see the things completely different from those who have inside unsatisfied needs or blockages. They realize the pleasures of the very moment, live in present and know that the journey is just as important as the end. They can enjoy being alone and need privacy sometimes. They rely only on their own intuition. They are not affected by the social pressure. They appreciate diversity, and being individuals at the same. They are compassionate and always think about humanity. They prefer not to have shallow relationships but enjoy trustworthy personal relations with a couple of close friends and family. They have a good sense of humor. They accept others the way they are. So, they do not tend to change other people. They also accept themselves fully the way they are. It means they enjoy being unique. They are spontaneous and easy going. They are, of course, creative and inventive. They tend to have more inner experiences than other people. These experiences tend to leave memories in person’s mind and change them for the better.

Nowadays society needs self actualizing people with its high speed changes in all spheres of life. International connections, relationships, interdependence conditioned quicker development of global understanding of things or global mentality. People having international experience have wider way of thinking, judging the events not only as the ethnic group member but like an urban citizen of modern brave world.

Over the past 25 years, the higher education internationalization has become a very important phenomenon for many countries and national governments, student organizations and accrediting agencies. Jane Knight

in her works in 1994 year defined higher education internationalization as “the process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into purpose, functions or delivery of higher education at the institutional and national levels”. She also refers to the new realities of today’s higher education: globalization, growth of knowledge economy, developed information and communication technologies, alternative sources of funding, services without borders, life-long learning, diversity and expansion of new interested countries [2].

Currently the two components of the higher education internationalization are being developed. One is the internationalization “at home” – are activities that help students develop their intercultural abilities and internationality awareness. So the activities of this category seek to encourage students to be active in a globalized world. Other activities of the components: teaching and learning processes, additional activities, links to cultural and ethnic groups, research and development activities. The other component of the transnational higher education internationalization abroad, including all forms of foreign education: mobility of students and teachers, mobility projects, programs and providers. Both

higher education internationalization components are not separated from each other, but integrated into the higher education internationalization strategies and programs. The development of internationalization has been promoted since 1980, when the educational and scientific cooperation and exchange programs were created. Currently, the growing competition, commercialization and educational services without borders are a challenge to traditional values of cooperation: partnerships and exchanges. Internationalization has become a quality criterion for higher education however, there is an on-going discussion about the quality of internationalization itself [3].

Altbach, Reisberg and Rumbley in their report at the UNESCO International Conference on the higher education said that “In the 21st century the role of globalization has significantly increased. The use of English as a science communication tool has been unprecedented since the Latin language was dominated by academic institutions in medieval Europe. Information and communication technologies have created means of communication for a rapid contact and for scientific communication. Together, these developments have helped to consolidate the data bases, publishing facilities and other relevant resources in the hands of the strongest universities and some international companies” [4].

It is important that the ways of higher education internationalization change are different in Europe and around the world. There are many different aspects and ways. Internationalization strategies are separated and adjusted to the internal context and type of universities and how they are integrated at the national level.

Over the past 15 years, the international programs suggesting studies and working experience abroad have become very popular all over the world. Many articles and other sources describe the experience of international programs participants as well as supporting such tours importance because of valuable knowledge and skills people get. These articles, however, have focused primarily on the organization and implementation of such tours, without assessments or analysis of the experience people get and this experience’s impact on the participant’s sense and value sphere of personality. The increasing popularity of such programs and the opportunities they give require more empirical support by studying the participants’ experience. Suppose of this article is to extend the understanding of international programs importance by assessing the effects of an international working tour in terms of participants’ perceived experience value.

The purpose of this research was to investigate the peculiarities of value and sense sphere of international programs participants during the process of self actualization.

In our research we have investigated the participants of “Work and travel” international program. They are students of our local universities: Kazakhstan American Free University, S. Amanzholov EKSU, D. Serikbayev East Kazakhstan State Technical University, Ust-Kamenogorsk branch of Moscow State University of Economics, Statistics and Programming Science. The age of people took part in our study is from 18 till 25 years old. The techniques we have chosen for the research for value and sense sphere of personality and self actualization investigation were for analyzing the experimental and control groups differences. They were: Self actualization test (Shostorm E.), Purpose-in-Life Test, technique of “value” versus “accessibility” ratio finding (E.B. Fantalova’s modification of methods «LRVA»), Morphological Test of Values in Life (Sopov V.F.).

Speaking in this article about sense and value sphere of self actualizing person, we would like to pay more attention to the Purpose-in-Life Test.

The Purpose-in-Life Test is a survey designed to measure a person’s meaning and purpose in life and give it a rating. It is a 20question questionnaire that rates each answer on a 7-point scale. The scales are: purposes in life(the main values that bring sense into person’s life), process of living (shows if life seems to the person to be interesting and full of good emotions), degree of self realization (shows if the person is satisfied with self realization), locus of control-Me (shows persons self-concept as a strong personality, master of his life), locus of control-life (gives the image of person’s self feeling, if he can control and change his life or no). The total score is given in a range from 20 to 140, 20 being low purpose and 140 being high purpose. If someone scores a low rating, it can indicate that they have little life satisfaction, they do not value their life as important, they do not think life has much meaning. Conversely, those who score high on the Purpose-in-Life test have a good level of psychological and physical well being; they often have clear goals and intentions and value their life and those around them. To have a purpose in life means someone’s positive attitudes towards life, have strong values and appreciated the sense of life. To have a positive purpose in life indicates that someone believe that they contribute in a meaningful and significant way to the community [5], [6].

Purpose refers to a tendency to derive meaning from life’s experiences and to have intention and goals that drive behavior. Researchers have found that if someone has a purpose in life, it can contribute to better health outcomes.

The Purpose in Life Test was developed in the 1960′s by Crumbaugh and Maholick who designed it as a tool to measure a persons meaning and purpose in life. It was developed originally as a tool for use in logotherapy. Logotherapy is a theory developed by Dr Viktor E Frankl who was a pioneering psychiatrist and a Nazi concentration camp survivor. Logotherapy is based in the belief that the primary motivational force in humans is to find a meaning in life.

The principles of logotherapy are as follows:

  1. Life has meaning under all circumstances, even the most miserable ones.
  2. The main motivation for living is the will to find meaning in life.
  3. That people have freedom to find meaning in what they do, experience or the stand they take when faced with a situation of unchangeable suffering.

The test aims to measure this meaning or purpose in life and give it a score. A negative meaning in life, motivation for life or values will mean a person will experience an emptiness in life, or as Frankl describes, an existential vacuum. Having a positive sense of meaning or purpose in life means an individual has a sense of the self and motivation to live and achieve.[7]

Well, as for the results we have found

that value and sense spheres of people who took part in the international working tour(the experimental group) and those who didn’t (the control group) do not have a considerable difference.

Consequently, the main values are important for every person. It doesn’t matter where do you live, study and work, you will obviously appreciate health, love, possibility of having a good high paid job, true friends, opportunities for development and personal growth and of course to be with someone special, your second half. In every country people have the same needs and values from ancient times. Only some differences are conditioned by unique environment and cultural prerequisites.

What we want to point that the experimental group showed higher points in “Melocus of control” and living in the present. So, their view on life is a bit different from those of the control group. Locus of control refers to the extent to which individuals believe that they can control events that affect them. Individuals with a high internal locus of control believe that events result primarily from their own behavior and actions. Their boundaries are wider and they realize that there are many ways in realizing this or that needs and it depends on them more then on anyone else as they make their future [8].

The interview content analyses of participants of « Work and Travel» international program indicated that the international working tour considerably enhanced their understanding of cultural differences, rethinking about values and senses in life, with the site visits providing valuable insights into both global mentality and the functional areas of their work. They also noted that the tour was a very effective format for learning about way of life of foreigners and peculiarities of working abroad that is really important for enhancing their professional development in future. Furthermore, they made good use of their “free time” with other participants by visiting cultural sites such as museums and monuments, parks, picturesque nature places.

Most surprisingly is that such a working tour had only a moderate impact on their interest in pursuing a job involving global business. One explanation for this finding may be that a self actualizing personality doesn’t principally need to be involved into the international business and having a prospective position in the company well known all over the world but the inner recognition of the possibilities he or she may choose and use when having an interest and a strong need for.

Self actualization if very important to everyone and the main role in this process play senses and values of the personality. Only through satisfying our lower needs we can consider self-actualization. If you are hungry, your only thought is that of food. If you are homeless, your only thought is that of survival. If you lack love, your only thought is to find love. If you are lack of lack self esteem, your only need is to find approval. If you are lack of self-fulfillment your only thought is to find fulfillment. Yet, once these needs are met you are ready to reach for the stars and it is in your highest essence of self that selfactualization exist.

Value and sense sphere of the human being is in the process of constant development. People learn new things, have different kind of experience, get to know many people who can also make an impact of their personalities. All these factors bring an impact on the inner processes and continuously initiate new needs.

According to Maslow the self-actualizer has certain driving requirements in order to be happy. They require:

  1. Truth, rather than dishonesty.
  2. Goodness, rather than evil.
  3. Beauty, not ugliness or vulgarity.
  4. Unity, wholeness, and transcendence of opposites, not arbitrariness.
  5. Aliveness, not deadness or the mechanization of life.
  6. Uniqueness, not bland uniformity.
  7. Perfection and necessity, not sloppiness, inconsistency, or accident.
  8. Completion, rather than incompleteness.
  1. Justice and order, not injustice and lawlessness.
  2. Simplicity, not unnecessary complexity.
  3. Richness, not environmental impoverishment.
  4. Effortlessness, not strain.
  5. Playfulness, not grim, humorless, drudgery.
  6. Self-sufficiency, not dependency.
  7. Meaningfulness, rather than senselessness [9].

The self-actualized person's characteristics are unique indeed. Some would say that they are born this way, while others would protest that they have become this way. In either case, all would agree that our world would be a much better place if we all aspired for self-actualization. Every person’s going up to the way of self actualization is a very unique process.

“Everything flows, nothing stands still, everything gives way and nothing stays fixed”, “ All is flux, nothing is stationary. All is flux, nothing stays still.” “You cannot step twice into the same river; for other waters are continually flowing in. You cannot step twice into the same stream. For as you are stepping in, other waters are ever flowing on to you. You cannot step twice into the same river.

You cannot step into the same river twice. It is impossible to step into the same river twice. No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man”,-stated Heraclitus. The idea of life for ancient people was considered to be like a constant flow, full of changes. As every flow, life is also supposed to have a set destination, aims to reach.

As life flows it happens that the aim seemed to be the final one is actually transitional, which is opening a new prospective for further development and reaching new aims. Heraclitus supposed that for life, the same as for the Fire Element it is typical to have an aim, desire, aspiration for something, for which it is getting special forms without intention to hold but with a constant desire for changing them for something different, more complicated. Harmony appears as a result of opposite intentions and efforts, everything consists of opposites. So, our life is a change, but a change is a tension.

Twenty five centuries have passed from Heraclitus times. Many scientific schools were studying ways to truth, happiness, perfection of a human being. Still nowadays self actualization in life and its values and senses is a very important question for everyone. There are many tendencies and ways to follow and everyone can choose what is better for himself. Psychological development and personal growth have dynamic extension as a result of self actualizes’ activity. Development, rethinking of senses and values is connected with potential realization in different spheres of life and personal growth is connected with new needs. Self actualization is an activity, leading to constant change and development. In a modern world people can always find an opportunity for making their boundaries wider, trying new things, going to other countries. New possibilities, conditioned by changes in the world meet self actualizes’ requirement and they in their turn are always grateful and positive about friendly and constantly changing world.


  1. Maslow, A. H. A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 1943, pp 50, 370-396.
  2. De Wit, Hans. Internationalization of Higher Education in Europe and its assessment, trends and issues. December, 2010.
  3. Centre for Higher Education Development Foundation Archimedes. Access via the Internet <www.archimedes.ee/dora>.
  4. Atlbach, Philip, Reisberg, Liz, and Rumbley, Laura. Trends in Global Higher Education, Tracking an Academic Revolution. Boston, Center for Crumbaugh International Higher Education, Boston College, 2009.
  5. 5.J.C. Cross-Validation of Purpose-In-Life Test Based on Frankl's Concepts // Journal of Individual Psychology, 1968. 24(1). P.74-81.
  6. Leontyev D.A. Purpose-in-Life Test (PIL).Moscow, 1992.
  7. Stephanie Wood, Amanda M. A. Melton, & Tara K. Luchkiw The International Forum for Logotherapy, 2008, 31, 59-64.
  8. Muzdybayev К. The responsibility psychology, 1983
  9. Maslow, A. H. Self actualization Challenges of Humanistic Psychology. 1967.

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International relations

International relations



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