Assessing Intercultural Competence in The Digital World: Evidence from Virtual Exchange Experience in a Study Abroad Program




Virtual exchange, Intercultural skills, Study abroad, Intercultural Effectiveness Scale, China


This study presents evidence of the impact of an innovative pedagogical practice that cultivates and develops the intercultural competence of undergraduate college students. 15 U.S. undergraduate students enrolled in a business study abroad course and 12 Chinese undergraduate students participated in a virtual student exchange project in spring 2019. Using global distance learning technology, the students collaborated on the project to provide a joint comprehensive investment recommendation report. A comparison of U.S. students’ Intercultural Effectiveness Scale scores at the beginning and end of the project revealed significant positive changes in their intercultural competence. Student self-evaluations and peer surveys confirmed improvement in students’ global mindset. Being one of the first studies to demonstrate student intercultural competence and learning through a virtual exchange experience, this study provides implications for study abroad and virtual global learning.


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Author Biographies

Lin Zheng, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Lin Zheng is a clinical associate professor in accounting in Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Her research interests include financial accounting, international accounting, and student learning.

Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow is a clinical assistant professor in management and business law and faculty chair of the undergraduate program in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis. Her research interests include team dynamics, leadership, negotiations, and cultural intelligence.

Stanley Zhiwei Lin, Shenzhen University

Stanley Zhiwei Lin is an assistant professor in accounting in the School of Economics at Shenzhen University, China. His research interests include the determinants and consequences of accounting information quality, capital market regulation's impacts on firms' behaviors, and market efficiency. He has published several articles in journals such as Management International Review and Journal of International Accounting, Auditing and Taxation.

Yifei Yang, Xiamen National Accounting Institute

Yifei Yang is an assistant professor in research institute of accounting and financing at Xiamen National Accounting Institute. Her research interests include accounting principles and financial reporting analysis.


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How to Cite

Zheng, L., Westerhaus-Renfrow, C., Lin, S. Z., & Yang, Y. (2022). Assessing Intercultural Competence in The Digital World: Evidence from Virtual Exchange Experience in a Study Abroad Program. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(4), 418–441.



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