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Intercultural Competence among Study Abroad Students during the Coronavirus Disease Outbreak of 2019

Pino Alcaraz, Marcela (2021) Intercultural Competence among Study Abroad Students during the Coronavirus Disease Outbreak of 2019. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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This study researches the development of Intercultural Competence for students in Interdisciplinary Global Programs (IGP) who were evacuated from a year-long immersion abroad during the outbreak of COVID-19. The study concludes that IGP students utilized all six scales of Intercultural Competence as defined by the Global Perspectives Inventory (Research Institute for Studies in Education, 2017), with high demonstration of respect and acceptance of cultural differences and lower demonstration of knowledge of multicultural issues and interdependence and social concern. Students’ ability to think about multicultural issues and relate them in their relationships with others was the most difficult aspect of Intercultural Competence for this participant group. Although the experiences abroad studied here reflected four continents, nine countries, and five languages, there were no differential patterns in Intercultural Competence abilities due to these factors, demonstrating a strong foundational and sustained learning delivered through IGP programming and academic requirements. This research supports the assessment that IGP Level 4 students have demonstrated at or above Level 4 in the IGP Competency Roadmap for Intercultural Competence by having gained interest in their host country, demonstrated engagement in their host language and culture, gained awareness on how to foster an inclusive and welcoming climate locally and abroad, and found ways to identify and articulate their personal cultural adjustment. This Level 4 or above skill proficiency has enabled students to apply Intercultural Competence to directly problem-solve and communicate interculturally and to analyze the problem-solving and intercultural communication of others. Following Mezirow’s (1998) Transformation Learning Theory, this thesis demonstrates how students transformed their COVID-19 concrete experience (CE) through reflective observation (RO) provided by the IGP module to develop implications for actions that serve as guides for new experiences, particularly as related to Intercultural Competence. I postulate that these experiences, in conjunction with the complementary IGP competencies, generate future leaders of global positive change.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: COVID-19; Immersion; Intercultural Competence; International Education; Long-term Study Abroad; Multicultural
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Social and Behavioral Science > Sociology and Social Work
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2022 20:51
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2022 20:51
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5651

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