20 SES 06, To Study Abroad Is Challenging Intercultural Sensitivity Competencies but What from Technology to Philosophy Can Inform and Support This Academic Practice?
The study explored study abroad students’ ability to discriminate and experience cultural differences (i.e., intercultural sensitivity). We explored two different populations of study abroad students in Italy: ERASMUS students enrolled in Italian Universities versus US students enrolled in English-speaking study abroad programmes. Unique to this study is that students’ narratives of experiences in a foreign culture in the form of critical incidents (De Frankrijker, 1998; Hesse et al., 2008) are related to intercultural sensitivity (Bennett, 1993), acculturation orientations (Berry, 2003), and foreign study programme qualities. The research question was explored through triangulation, a mixed-method approach.
Several studies conducted with university students showed that study abroad programs do not contribute to enhanced cultural awareness unless students’ reflective processes are explicitly fostered (Anderson, Lawton, Rexeisen, & Hubbard, 2006; Vande Berg, Paige, & Hemming Lou, 2012). These findings are confirmed by training studies that found a positive relationship between formative feedback and intercultural communication development (Lane, Hays, Core, & Auerbach, 2013). Moreover, several scholars agree that although considered important, students' abilities to identify and experience cultural differences are rarely sufficiently explored (Anderson et al., 2006; Bennett, 2009; Busse & Krause, 2016), especially in interaction with individual variables, such as students’ own cultural background, and contextual variables, such as the characteristics of the study abroad programme in which students are enrolled.
Major questions guiding this study include 1) How do students in foreign study programmes offering different opportunities for students to be embedded in Italian culture narrate their experiences, in particular critical incidents? and 2) how do those narratives relate to measures of intercultural sensitivity and programme? We hypothesized that ERASMUS students would display higher levels of intercultural sensitivity in light of their greater exposure to cultural differences during the study abroad experience. We also hypothesized that such differences would emerge in analyses of how the students recounted intercultural experiences (i.e., organized their narratives) in addition to differences in our assessments of intercultural sensitivity expressed in the narratives.
Anderson, P. H., Lawton, L., Rexeisen, R. J., & Hubbard, A. C. (2006). Short-term study abroad and intercultural sensitivity: A pilot study. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30(4), 457–469. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2005.10.004 Bennett, M. J. (1993). Towards ethnorelativism: A developmental model of intercultural sensitivity. In R. M. Paige (Ed.), Cross-cultural orientation: New conceptualizations and applications (pp. 27–70). New York, NY: University Press of America. Bennett, M. J. (2009). Defining, measuring, and facilitating intercultural learning: a conceptual introduction to the Intercultural Education double supplement. Intercultural Education, 20, S1–S13. http://doi.org/10.1080/14675980903370763 Berry, J. (2003). Conceptual approaches to acculturation. In K. M. Chun, P. Balls Organista, & G. Marìn (Eds.), Acculturation: Advances in theory, measurement, and applied research (pp. 17–37). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. http://doi.org/10.1037/10472-004 Busse, V., & Krause, U.-M. (2016). Instructional methods and languages in claBusse, V., & Krause, U.-M. (2016). Instructional methods and languages in class: A comparison of two teaching approaches and two teaching languages in the field of intercultural learning. Learning and Instruction,. Learning and Instruction, 42, 83–94. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2016.01.006 Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2011). Designing and conducting mized method research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Daiute, C. (2014). Narrative inquiry: A dynamic approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. De Frankrijker, H. (1998). Cross-cultural learning from incidents, the critical incident method: Some applications concerning the practice of teacher education and parent support. European Journal of Intercultural Studies, 9, 55–70. Deardoff, D. K. (2009). The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Hesse, H.-G., Göbel, K., & Jude, N. (2008). Interkulturelle kompetenz [en .tr., Intercultural competence]. In DESI-Konsortium (Ed.), Unterricht und Kompetenzerwerb in Deutsch und Englisch - Ergebnisse der DESI-Studie [en tr., Teaching and the acquisition of competencies in German and English as a foreign- Results from the DESI study] (pp. 180–190). Weinheim:, DE: Beltz. Lane, H. C., Hays, M. J., Core, M. G., & Auerbach, D. (2013). Learning intercultural communication skills with virtual humans: Feedback and fidelity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 105, 1026–1033. http://doi.org/10.1037/a0031506 Lebedko, M. (2013). Stereotype management in intercultural education through the analysis of critical incidents. In S. A. Houghton, Y. Furumura, M. Lebedko, & S. Li (Eds.), Critical cultural awareness. Managing stereotypes through intercultural (language) education (pp. 249–275). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Ward, C., & Rana-Deuba, A. (1999). Acculturation and Adaptation Revisited. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 30(4), 422–442. http://doi.org/10.1177/0022022199030004003
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