Intercultural Competence in Short-Term Study Abroad
Assessment is growing for short-term study abroad as the majority of students (63.1%) continue to choose this option (Institute of International Education, 2016). This study examines possible gains and factors influencing such gains in students’ overall intercultural competency following participation in a short-term program. Using the Intercultural Effectiveness Scale (IES) survey distributed before, after, and three months following the study abroad experience, data was analyzed for fifty-five students across eight different short-term programs at three distinct institutions within the state of Texas. Document analysis of program syllabi also looked at connections to structured activities and assignments. The results demonstrate the potential for short-term study abroad programs ranging from two to five weeks to have significant impacts on students’ self-perceived intercultural competency that appear most affected by intentional structures. These findings support recommended practices of using well-defined activities and assignments, incorporating opportunities for meaningful local interaction, and providing planned re-entry.
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