Summer Study-Abroad Program as Experiential Learning: Examining Similarities and Differences in International Communication
Keywords:study abroad, experiental learning, intercultural sensitivity, international communication, assessment
This paper examines how the study-abroad experience enhances intercultural communication competence. This study used Bennett’s (1986, 1993) model of ethnorelative typology of acceptance, adaptation, and integration to explore intercultural communication competency. Central to intercultural communication competency is intercultural sensitivity and modified perceptions of cultural differences. A pre-test/post-test open-ended questionnaire design was utilized to uncover what was learned by students while participating in a four-week summer study-abroad program in Paris and Brussels. Based on 110 participants over 16 years, results indicated that both sensitivity to and understanding of cultural differences are heightened as a result of the study-abroad experience. Further, these findings provided support for outcomes showing attainment of intercultural communication competency learning objectives.
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