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Does Cross-Cultural Communication Education ‘work’? An Investigation of International Higher Education Students in the U.K.

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Tony Young, Dr Alina SchartnerORCiD


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The increasing provision of cross- and intercultural education for sojourners is not being matched by commensurate research into its effects on participants. Evaluation is still largely confined to expatriate business contexts and has tended to be undertaken pre-sojourn where it has been undertaken at all. Crucially, evaluation has not engaged with the adaptation, adjustment and performance of sojourners related to their actual lived experience of adjustment, or with any key outcomes of sojourns Littrell et al, 2006; Morris and Robbie, 2001). In response, this mixed-method, two-stage study explored the adjustment and adaptation of student sojourners, with a particular focus on those studying Intercultural Communication (ICC, Young and Schartner, 2014). There are currently around four million student sojourners worldwide, and research interest in their experiences is burgeoning (UNESCO-UIS, 2010). In stage one of this investigation, analysis of results of ‘international’ taught postgraduate students (N = 680) at a UK university over a five-year period indicated that those doing a degree in ICC tended to perform significantly better over different measures of academic achievement than a closely comparable peer group following a similar programme which lacked a specific focus on CCC. Stage two tracked longitudinally the academic adjustment experiences of 18 students of ICC over the course of their programmes through a series of in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Findings provided a fine-grained view of the experience of academic adaptation and adjustment, and indications of how and why some kinds of ICC education might ‘work’. We will also present a research agenda arising, with suggestions about how the teaching of cross- and intercultural communication might augment the experiences of international students, international academic staff, host students and host academic staff in the environment of rapidly ‘internationalising’ Higher Education Institutions around the world. References Littrell, L. N., Salas, E., Hess, K. P., Paley, M., and Riedel, S. “Expatriate Preparation: A Critical Analysis of 25 Years of Cross-Cultural Training Research”. Human Resource Development Review, 2006, 5 (3), pp. 355-88. Morris, M. A., and Robie, C. “A Meta-Analysis of the Effects of Cross-Cultural Training on Expatriate Performance and Adjustment”. International Journal of Training and Development, 2001, 5 (2), pp. 112-24. Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. Education at a glance 2012: OECD indicators. OECD Publishing. Retrieved from UNESCO-UIS (2010). Global Education Digest 2009: Comparing Education Statistics across the World. Retrieved from Young T.J., & Schartner A. “The effects of cross-cultural communication education on international students' adjustment and adaptation”. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 2014 doi: 10.1080/01434632.2014.884099.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Young TJ, Schartner A

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Unknown

Conference Name: World Conference on Education

Year of Conference: 2015

Acceptance date: 03/08/2015