Summer Study Abroad in Japan: Maximizing Intercultural Competency Development Through Self-Guided Cultural Exploration and Reflection Tasks
This study analyzes how self-guided cultural exploration and reflection (SCER) tasks affect the development of intercultural competency (ICC) of students participating in a study abroad program. The Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) was used to measure students' ICC development before and after a 6-week faculty-led study abroad program in Japan. The SCER tasks encouraged students to examine Japanese history, cuisine, politics, architecture, economy, communication style, and behaviors, and gain a sophisticated understanding of the Japanese culture through the lens of unique Japanese perspectives. The results reveal significant gains in overall IES scales, in particular, student's continuous learning and interpersonal engagement saw the most change. Analysis of student reflections further demonstrates the positive impact of culturally bridging experiences on self-awareness and cultural exploration. We argue that the impact of perspective-shifting practices, combined with students' first-hand intercultural experience improves student's level of hardiness. Finally, student reflections reveal the important role that the SCER tasks have on initiating a meaningful dialogue with their host families.
Fukuda, M., & Nishikawa Chávez, K. (2021). Summer study abroad in Japan: Maximizing intercultural competency development through self-guided cultural exploration and reflection tasks. Foreign Language Annals, 54(3), 823-846. http://doi.org/10.1111/flan.12556
Foreign Language Annals