20 SES 04, Educational and Mentoring Practices Related to Integration and Acculturation – What Kind of Tensions and Hindrances Can Be Identified through Research Projects on these Topics?
For more than four decades, the literature on higher education internationalisation has not only espoused the importance of intercultural interactions between international and domestic students, but also reported widespread evidence of limited actual interactions between the two groups. A review of the literature to date reveals only partial understandings of this vexed phenomenon. Different conceptual framings have been adopted to explore the issues, including a focus on academic and sociocultural adjustment of international students (Schartner, 2015), intercultural/cosmopolitan learning for both groups of students (Marginson & Sawir, 2011), and internationalisation of the curriculum (and related concepts, see Green & Whitsed, 2015). Moreover, numerous studies across many countries have shown that structured interventions aimed at supporting the development of long-lasting intercultural relationships, beyond superficial or functional contact, such as friendship, often fail to realise their intended outcomes at the level of the students. Against this backdrop, studies aiming to generate concrete understandings of intercultural interactions on campus settings have focused on: students’ abilities, dispositions, perceptions and behaviours (e.g. personality, past international experience, self-disclosure); as well as, educational environments (e.g. curriculum, intervention). Studies with a stronger theoretical orientation have examined the potential of such concepts as social exchange, social penetration, identity management, cultural identity and dialectics, and communication competence, with a view to better understanding the complexities of intercultural relationship development within the university context.
Our review of the literature identified major limitations. First, there is a limited focus on understanding what leads to positive, consolidated intercultural relationships (e.g. intercultural friendship: Glass, Gómez, & Urzua, 2014). Most studies reviewed, for example, examined either goal-oriented, functional interactions (e.g. goup work: Kimmel & Volet, 2012), or negative relationships (e.g. 'us and them' separation: Hou & McDowell, 2014). Second, despite the prevalence of stage models in studies of interpersonal relationships (e.g. Knapp & Vangelisti, 2005), the evolving nature of intercultural student relationships has received scanty attention (cf. Bennett, Volet, & Fozdar, 2013). Third, there are very few studies exploring how the dynamic interactions between the individual and environmental dimensions afford or constrain the development of intercultural relationships (e.g. co-contributing effects of students’ past international experience and participation in intervention programmes on the increase in intercultural interactions: Jon, 2013).
This paper aims to address these limitations by attempting to answer the following questions:
(1) What individual and environmental dimensions interact with one another to co-contribute to the development of positive intercultural relationships between domestic and international university students?
(2) How do the individual and environmental dimensions evolve over the development of the positive intercultural relationships?
Conceptually, this paper draws on an informed grounded theory approach (Thornberg, 2012), and uses theoretical/conceptual and empirical insights from the literature to sensitively interpret and code qualitative data obtained by interviews with local and international students at two Japanese universities, that differed substantially in their policy and practices related to internationalisation. This paper revisits current conceptualisations of the development of intercultural development and proposes a conceptual framework that acknowledges explicitly the evolving nature of intercultural relationship development as the dynamic experiential interface (Volet, 2001) between individual agency and environmental affordances. The proposed framework is expected to provide a basis to promote further theoretical and/or empirical scrutiny, as well as to stimulate educational practices, on intercultural student relationships in various (inter-)national/regional and institutional contexts.
Bandura, A. (2006). Toward a psychology of human agency. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1(2), 164-180. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6916.2006.00011.x Bennett, R. J., Volet, S. E., & Fozdar, F. E. (2013). "I'd say it's kind of unique in a way": The development of an intercultural student relationship. Journal of Studies in International Education, 17(5), 533-553. doi:10.1177/1028315312474937 Bronfenbrenner, U. (2005). Making human beings human: Bioecological perspectives on human development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Gibson, J. J. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Glass, C. R., Gómez, E., & Urzua, A. (2014). Recreation, intercultural friendship, and international students’ adaptation to college by region of origin. International Journal of Intercultural Relations. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2014.05.007 Green, W., & Whitsed, C. (Eds.). (2015). Critical perspectives on internationalising the curriculum in disciplines: Reflective narrative accounts from business, education and health. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense. Hou, J., & McDowell, L. (2014). Learning together? Experiences on a China–U.K. articulation program in engineering. Journal of Studies in International Education, 18(3), 223-240. doi:10.1177/1028315313497591 Jon, J.-E. (2013). Realizing internationalization at home in Korean higher education: Promoting domestic students’ interaction with international students and intercultural competence. Journal of Studies in International Education, 17(4), 455-470. doi:10.1177/1028315312468329 Kimmel, K., & Volet, S. (2012). University students' perceptions of and attitudes towards culturally diverse group work: Does context matter? Journal of Studies in International Education, 16(2), 157-181. doi:10.1177/1028315310373833 Knapp, M. L., & Vangelisti, A. L. (2005). Interpersonal communication and human relationships (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Leask, B. (2009). Using formal and informal curricula to improve interactions between home and international students. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(2), 205-221. doi:10.1177/1028315308329786 Lee, P.-W. (2008). Stages and transitions of relational identity formation in intercultural friendship: Implications for Identity Management Theory. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 1(1), 51-69. doi:10.1080/17513050701690918 Marginson, S., & Sawir, E. (2011). Ideas for intercultural education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Schartner, A. (2015). ‘You cannot talk with all of the strangers in a pub’: A longitudinal case study of international postgraduate students’ social ties at a British university. Higher Education, 69(2), 225-241. doi:10.1007/s10734-014-9771-8 Thornberg, R. (2012). Informed grounded theory. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 56(3), 243-259. doi:10.1080/00313831.2011.581686 Volet, S. (2001). Understanding learning and motivation in context: A multi-dimensional and multi-level cognitive-situative perspective. In S. Volet & S. Järvelä (Eds.), Motivation in learning contexts: Theoretical advances and methodological implications (pp. 57-82). Bingley, UK: Emerald.
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