Title: When does study abroad foster intercultural competence? A study in search of the conditions

Authors: Marcel H. Van Der Poel

Addresses: International Business School, Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Zernikeplein 7, AS Groningen 9747, The Netherlands

Abstract: This paper concerns an on-going study aiming at finding evidence for the assumption that a study abroad episode with active intervention in the student's engagement and reflection as part of intercultural learning will result in higher intercultural competence development scores than a study abroad without such intervention. The findings show that almost half of the students score substantially different on intercultural competence after their stay abroad than before. However, this applies to both intervention and non-intervention groups. Moreover, the changes are both positive and negative. Positive developmental scores relate to high scores on four specific competences, and to the factors curiosity, care for cultural difference, time lived abroad, age and gender. Factor analysis of all 13 study variables supports the idea that an intrinsic desire for cross-cultural interaction and an ability to communicate sensitively moderate intercultural learning. Further study is required to test how these factors relate to effective intervention.

Keywords: building relationships; cross-cultural interaction; cultural differences; curiosity; global citizenship; intercultural communication; intercultural competence development; IDI; intercultural development inventory; intercultural learning; IRC; intercultural readiness check; intercultural sensitivity; international higher education; managing uncertainty; study abroad.

DOI: 10.1504/EJCCM.2016.083841

European Journal of Cross-Cultural Competence and Management, 2016 Vol.4 No.2, pp.168 - 185

Accepted: 12 Nov 2016
Published online: 20 Apr 2017 *

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