Title

Making the Most of Intercultural Interactions: Designing a Catalyst for Intercultural Learning at the University of Montana

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

In recent decades, there has been a push for internationalization in higher education because many educators believe that cultural diversity is an essential element of the campus environment as universities strive to prepare graduates for a globalizing world. As international education scholar Darla Deardoff claims, “The question of integrating international and domestic students is an ongoing question that’s been with us for many years and unfortunately I haven’t found any institution that’s yet found the answer.” We aim to make use of untapped opportunities for mutual intercultural learning among students of diverse cultural backgrounds in higher education; to help bring about desired learning outcomes among both student groups. Specifically, we explore various kinds of interactions between foreign and U.S. students that can serve as vehicles for mutual intercultural learning, involving the development of transnational competence (Koehn and Rosenau, 2010). Through a student survey and interviews with university program officers and faculty conducted at the University of Montana, we found two main problems; non-engaging intercultural learning environment and a lack of motivation on the part of U.S. students. We endeavor to design a program that can address these issues. We will collaborate with offices on campus that already have relevant programs in place, such as the Office of International Programs, English Language Institute, and Student Involvement Network. Our program design is based on insights from a literature review, survey findings, and interview data. It involves a systematic three-step process that incorporates educational, social, and community service components that would help participants develop various aspects of transnational competence. Our program uniquely establishes analytic and emotional dimensions of transnational competence, to serve as the foundation on which participants can build communicative, functional, and creative dimensions. This paper reports on the research and the program development process that we engaged in to address the global problem.

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Apr 17th, 1:40 PM Apr 17th, 4:10 PM

Making the Most of Intercultural Interactions: Designing a Catalyst for Intercultural Learning at the University of Montana

North UC Ballroom

In recent decades, there has been a push for internationalization in higher education because many educators believe that cultural diversity is an essential element of the campus environment as universities strive to prepare graduates for a globalizing world. As international education scholar Darla Deardoff claims, “The question of integrating international and domestic students is an ongoing question that’s been with us for many years and unfortunately I haven’t found any institution that’s yet found the answer.” We aim to make use of untapped opportunities for mutual intercultural learning among students of diverse cultural backgrounds in higher education; to help bring about desired learning outcomes among both student groups. Specifically, we explore various kinds of interactions between foreign and U.S. students that can serve as vehicles for mutual intercultural learning, involving the development of transnational competence (Koehn and Rosenau, 2010). Through a student survey and interviews with university program officers and faculty conducted at the University of Montana, we found two main problems; non-engaging intercultural learning environment and a lack of motivation on the part of U.S. students. We endeavor to design a program that can address these issues. We will collaborate with offices on campus that already have relevant programs in place, such as the Office of International Programs, English Language Institute, and Student Involvement Network. Our program design is based on insights from a literature review, survey findings, and interview data. It involves a systematic three-step process that incorporates educational, social, and community service components that would help participants develop various aspects of transnational competence. Our program uniquely establishes analytic and emotional dimensions of transnational competence, to serve as the foundation on which participants can build communicative, functional, and creative dimensions. This paper reports on the research and the program development process that we engaged in to address the global problem.