Intercultural Knowledge Development During Short-Term Study Abroad in the Basque Country: A Cultural and Linguistic Minority Context


  • Ager Gondra Purchase College - SUNY
  • Lori Czerwionka



Intercultural knowledge development, Study abroad, short-term, Education abroad


This investigation examined intercultural knowledge development in a short-term study abroad program in a cultural and linguistic minority context (Basque Country, Spain). A pre- and post-program quantitative and qualitative design was used with 26 participants. The quantitative, survey-based results demonstrated an increase in intercultural knowledge over the five weeks. Qualitative analysis of interview data indicated that students’ intercultural knowledge aligned with Lussier’s (2007)description of knowledge about small c culture and included knowledge of social groups—a distinct finding from prior research. Students’ knowledge changed over the period abroad, indicating adjustment to City life and Time and Schedule norms. Additionally, knowledge growth was greatest with respect to subthemes strongly linked to the minority context (e.g. Basque ethnicity, culture, language). This study offers detailed information about intercultural knowledge development during short-term study abroad and demonstrates that minority context programs encourage development of intercultural knowledge about small c culture and social groups.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Ager Gondra, Purchase College - SUNY

Ager Gondra is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Purchase College - SUNY. His research interests include syntax, focusing on Spanish and Basque, second language teaching and learning, and intercultural communicative competence.

Lori Czerwionka

Lori Czerwionka is an Assistant Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Purdue University.  Her research addresses pragmatics, second language pragmatics, and intercultural communicative competence.


Bennett, J. M. (1993). Toward ethnorelativism: A developmental model of intercultural sensitivity. In R. M. Paige (Ed.), Education for the intercultural experience (2nd ed., pp. 21-71). Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural.

Bennett, J. M. (2008). Transformative training: Designing programs for culture learning. In M. A. Moodian (Ed.), Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence: Understanding and utilizing cultural diversity to build successful organizations (pp. 95-110). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Black, H. T., & Duhon, D. L. (2006). Assessing the impact of business study abroad programs on cultural awareness and personal development. The Journal of Education for Business, 81(3), 140-144.

Byram, M. (1997). Teaching and assessing intercultural communicative competence. Bristol, PA: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Caffi, C., & Janney, R. (1994). Toward a pragmatics of emotive communication. Journal of Pragmatics, 22, 325-373.

Chieffo, L., & Griffiths, L. (2004). Large scale assessment of student attitudes after a short-term study abroad program. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10, 165-177.

Collentine, Joseph G. 2004. The effects of learning contexts on morphosyntactic and lexical development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26, 227-48.

Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Czerwionka, L., Artamonova, T. & Barbosa, M. (2014). “Intercultural competence during short-term study abroad: A focus on knowledge.” In B. Dupuy & L. Waugh (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on the Development and Assessment of Intercultural Competence, 3, 46-77.

Czerwionka, L. Artamonova, T. & Barbosa, M. (2015). Intercultural knowledge development: Evidence from student interviews during short-term study abroad. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 49, 80-99.

Deardorff, D. (2006). Identification and assessment of intercultural competence as a student outcome of internationalization. Journal of Studies in International Education, 10(3), 241-266.

DeKeyser, R. 1990. From learning to acquisition? Monitoring in the classroom and abroad. Hispania, 73, 238-47.

Dings, A. (2007). Developing interactional competence in a second language: A case study of a Spanish language learner. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Texas, Austin.

Dings, A. (2014). Interactional competence and the development of alignment activity. The Modern Language Journal, 98, 742-756.

Dwyer, M. M. (2004). More is better: The impact of study abroad program duration. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10, 151-163.

Eckert, P. (2000). Linguistic variation as social practice. Oxford: Blackwell.

Elola, I., & Oskoz, A. (2008). Blogging: Fostering intercultural competence development in foreign language and study abroad contexts. Foreign Language Annals, 41(3), 454-477.

Engle, L., & Engle, J. (2004). Assessing language acquisition and intercultural sensitivity development in relation to study abroad program design. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10, 219-236.

Fantini, A., & Tirmizi, A. (2006). Exploring and assessing intercultural competence. World Learning Publications, Paper 1. Retrieved from

Gertsen, M. (1990). Intercultural competence and expatriates. International Journal of Human Resources Management, 1, 341-362.

Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. New York: Aldine.

Gudykunst, W., Ting-Toomey, S., & Wiseman, R. (1991). Taming the beast: Designing a course in intercultural communication. Communication Education, 40, 272-285.

Jackson, J. (2011). Host language proficiency, intercultural sensitivity, and study abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 21, 167-188.

Jessup-Anger, J. E. Gender observations and study abroad: How students reconcile cross-cultural differences related to gender. Journal of College Student Development, 49(4) 360-373.

Kinginger, C. (2008). Language learning in study abroad: Case studies of Americans in France. The Modern Language Journal Monograph Series, 1. Oxford: Blackwell.

Lafford, B. F. (1995). Getting into, through and out of a survival situation: A comparison of communicative strategies used by students studying Spanish abroad and ‘at home.’ In B. F. Freed (Ed.), Second language acquisition in a study abroad context (pp. 97-121). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

le Roux, J. (2002). Effective educators are culturally competent communicators. Intercultural Education, 13(1), 37-48.

Lussier, D. (2007). Theoretical bases of a conceptual framework with reference to intercultural communicative competence. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(3), 309-332.

Malmgren, J., & Galvin, J. Effects of study abroad participation on student graduation rates: A study of three incoming freshman cohorts at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. NACADA Journal, 28(1), 29-42.

Martinsen, R. A. (2010). Short-term study abroad: Predicting changes in oral skills. Foreign Language Annals, 43(3), 504-30.

Segalowitz, N., & Freed, B. F. (2004). Context, contact, and cognition in oral fluency acquisition: Learning Spanish in at home and study

Stier, J. (2006). Internationalisation, intercultural communication and intercultural competence. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 11, 1-12

Tagliamonte, S. A. (2006). Analysing sociolinguistic variation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Talburt, S., & Stewart, M. A. (1999). What’s the subject of study abroad: Race, gender, and “living culture.” The Modern Language Journal, 83(2), 163-175.

The Institute of International Education. Open doors report. Retrieved from

Ting-Toomey, S. (1999). Communicating across cultures. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Twombly, S. B. (1995). Piropos and friendships: Gender and culture clash in study abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 1, 1-27.

Vande Berg, M., Paige, M. R., & Lou, K. H. (Eds.). (2012). Student learning abroad: What our students are learning, what they’re not, and what we can do about it. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

Williams, T. R. (2009). The reflective model of intercultural competency: A multidimensional, qualitative approach to study abroad assessment. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 18, 289-306.

Wiseman, R. (2002). Intercultural communication competence. In W.B. Gudykunst & B. Mody (Eds.), Handbook of international and intercultural communication (pp. 207-224). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Wiseman, R., Hammer, M., & Nishida, H. (1989). Predictors of intercultural communication competence. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 13, 349-370.




How to Cite

Gondra, A., & Czerwionka, L. (2018). Intercultural Knowledge Development During Short-Term Study Abroad in the Basque Country: A Cultural and Linguistic Minority Context. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 30(3), 119–146.