Developing intercultural competence and global citizenship through international experiences: Academics' perceptions

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Abstract

International education is a key priority for Australian universities, government and employer groups. For students, an international professional experience is uniquely placed in providing opportunities for developing intercultural learning,intercultural competence and global citizenship. Employers see graduates with international experiences as interculturally competent, viewing them as proficient in analysing and responding appropriately to culturally significant values andperceptions. This research seeks to understand how students are prepared for international experiences and how intercultural learning is integrated into course programmes. Academic staff responsible for international experiences wereinterviewed in one-on-one qualitative interviews about their practices and perceptions of preparing students for these experiences. Although all international programmes were procedurally well planned, we found that most participantsdid not include intercultural pedagogies into their programmes, nor did they purposefully seek to develop intercultural competence and global citizenship in their students. Professional development opportunities need to be created foracademics to rethink their pedagogical intent regarding international experiences. Immersion in culture is not, on its own, an assurance of intercultural learning. Providing international experiences without a pedagogical framework that helpsstudents to reflect on self and others can be a wasted opportunity and runs the risk of reinforcing stereotypical thinking and racist attitudes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-445
Number of pages4
JournalIntercultural Education
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013

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