Anything Students Can Learn, Staff and Faculty Can Learn Too: Intercultural Learning in Staff and Faculty Study Abroad


  • Leighton Buntain Purdue University



study abroad, staff, intercultural learning, Intercultural Development Inventory


The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of intercultural learning modules introduced to a faculty and staff study abroad program. Using data from 2014-2018 of Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) scores, this study compared control (2014-2015) and treatment (2016-2018) IDI mean score differences due to the new modules introduced in 2016. The results indicate that the introduction of five intercultural learning modules and individualized goal-setting led to positive IDI growth in comparison with the control group. Despite program participants of all years taking part in daily journaling with program mentors, these results suggest that participating in intercultural learning modules before, during, and after travel and setting individualized intercultural goals were key to intercultural learning. In addition, this study provides evidence that best practices for student study abroad programs can also be applied to faculty and staff intercultural professional development.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Leighton Buntain, Purdue University

Leighton Buntain is Global and Intercultural Scholar-in-Residence at the John Martinson Honors College, Purdue University. Before that, he served in various international education roles in the United States and Asia. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, his Master’s degree at The Ohio State University, and his doctorate at Purdue. His research focuses on intercultural learning, cross-cultural contact, and friendship in higher education.


Agnew, M., & Kahn, H. E. (2014). Internationalization-at-home: Grounded practices to promote intercultural, international, and global learning. Metropolitan Universities, 25(1), 31-46.

Anderson, C. L., Lorenz, K., & White, M. (2016, November). Instructor influence on student intercultural gains and learning during instructor-led, short-term study abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 28, 1-23. DOI:

Arasaratnam, L. A. (2015). Research in intercultural communication: Reviewing the past decade. Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, 8(4), 290-310. DOI:

Bennett, J. M. (2009). Cultivating intercultural competence: A process perspective. In D. Deardorff (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of intercultural competence (pp. 121-140). SAGE Publications Inc. DOI:

Bennett, M. J. (1986). A developmental approach to training for intercultural sensitivity. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 10(2), 179-196. DOI:

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

Bennett, M. J. (2019). Culture is not a thing, and other antidotes to the ravages of reification.

Chen, Y. W. (2006). Intercultural friendship from the perspectives of east asian international students. China Media Research, 2(3), 43-58.

Deardorff, D. K. (2009). Implementing intercultural competence assessment. In D. K. Deardorff (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of intercultural competence (pp. 477-491). SAGE Publications Inc. DOI:

Deardorff, D. K. (2015). Intercultural competence: Mapping the future research agenda. Intercultural Journal of Intercultural Relations, 48, 3-5. DOI:

Fantini, A. (2009). Assessing intercultural competence: Issues and tools. In D. K. Deardorff (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of intercultural competence (pp. 456-476). SAGE Publications Inc. DOI:

Geary, D. (2016). How do we get people to interact? International students and the american experience. Journal of International Students, 6(2), 527-541. DOI:

Griffith, R. L., Wolfeld, L., Armon, B. K., Rios, J. A., & Liu, O. L. (2016). Assessing intercultural competence in higher education: Existing research and future directions. ETS Research Report Series, 1—44. DOI:

Hammer, M. R. (2007). The Intercultural Development Inventory manual (Vol. 3). IDI, LLC.

Hammer, M. R. (2009). The Intercultural Development Inventory. In M. Moodian (Ed.), Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence (pp. 203-218). SAGE Publications Inc. DOI:

Hammer, M. R. (2011). Additional cross-cultural validity testing of the Intercultural Development Inventory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35, 474-487. DOI:

Hammer, M. R. (2015, August 20). Clarifying Inaccurate Statements Characterizing the Intercultural Development.

Hammer, M. R., Bennett, M., & Wiseman, R. (2003). Measuring intercultural sensitivity: The Intercultural Development Inventory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27, 421-443. DOI:

He, Y., Lundgren, K., & Pynes, P. (2017). Impact of short-term study abroad program: Inservice teachers' development of intercultural competence and pedagogical beliefs. Teaching and Teacher Education, 66, 147-157. DOI:

Heinzmann, S., Künzle, R., Schallhart, N., & Müller, M. (2015). The effect of study abroad on intercultural competence: Results from a longitudinal quasi-experimental study. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 26(1), 187-208. DOI:

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (Second ed.). SAGE Publications Inc.

Hofstede, G. (2019). The 6-D model of national culture.

Hopkins, K. (2012, October 10). Colleges Encourage More International Student Engagement: Students' desire for inclusion has spurred new campus initiatives across the United States. U.S. News & World Report.

IDI. (2022). The Roadmap to Using the IDI.

Institute of International Education. (2019a, July 27). Duration of Study Abroad.

Institute of International Education. (2019b, September 7). Host Regions of U.S. Study Abroad Students, 2005/6-2016/17.

Institute of International Education. (2019c). International Student Enrollment.

Koseva, P. (2017). Internationalizing campus partners. Journal of International Students, 7(3), 876-892. DOI:

Krishnan, L. A., Masters, C., & Holgate, H. (2017). Structured study abroad enhances intercultural competence. Teaching and Learning in Communication Sciences & Disorders, 1(1). DOI:

Lantz-Deaton, C. (2017). Internationalisation and the development of students' intercultural competence. Teaching in Higher Education, 22(5), 532-550. DOI:

Lee, Y. I., & Metcalfe, A. S. (2017). Academic advisors and their diverse advisees: Towards more ethical global universities. Journal of International Students, 7(4), 944-962. https://10.5281/zenodo.1029675 DOI:

Liu, W. (2019). "Education abroad" for international student advisors: What is the impact on their professional development? Journal of International Students, 9, 303-316. DOI:

Lokkesmoe, K. J., Kuchinke, K. P., & Ardichvili, A. (2016). Developing cross-cultural awareness through foreign immersion programs: Implications of university study abroad research for global competency development. European Journal of Training and Development, 40(3), 155-170. DOI:

Long, T. W. (2018, November). Percieved roles of academic advisors in pursuing internationalization at public state and community colleges in florida.

NAFSA. (2020, September 3). NAFSA & Campus Internationalization.

Niehaus, E., Reading, J., Nelson, M. J., Wegener, A., & Arthur, A. (2018, April). Faculty engagement in cultural mentoring as instructors of short-term study abroad courses. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 30(2), 77-91. DOI:

Paige, R. M., & Goode, M. (2009). Intercultural competence in international education administration: Cultural mentoring. In D. K. Deardorff (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of intercultural competence (pp. 121-140). SAGE Publications, Inc. DOI:

Paige, R. M., Jacobs-Cassuto, M., Yershova, Y. A., & DeJaeghere, J. (2003). Assessing intercultural sensitivity: An empirical analysis of the hammer and bennett intercultural development inventory. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27, 467-486. DOI:

Paras, A., Carignan, M., Brenner, A., Malmgren, J., & Rathburn, M. (2019, April). Understanding how program factors infuence intercultural learning in study abroad: The benefits of mixed-method analysis. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 31(1), 22-45. DOI:

Pedersen, P. J. (2009). Teaching towards an ethnorelative worldview through psychology study abroad. Intercultural Education, 20(Suppl. Nos. S1-2), S73-S86. DOI:

Pellegrino, J. L., Snyder, C., Crutchfield, N., Curtis, C. M., & Pringle, E. (2015). Leveraging institutional knowledge for student success: Promoting academic advisors. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 19(4), 135-141. DOI:

Rennick, J. B. (2015). Learning that makes a difference: Pedagogy and practice for learning abroad. Teaching & Learning Inquiry: The ISSOTL Journal, 3(2), 71-88. DOI:

Spenader, A. J., & Retka, P. (2015). The role of pedagogical variables in intercultural development: A study of faculty-led programs. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 25(1), 20-36. DOI:

Spitzberg, B. H., & Changnon, G. (2009). Conceptualizing intercultural competence. In D. Deardorff (Ed.), The SAGE handbook of intercultural competence (pp. 2-52). SAGE Publications, Inc. DOI:

Vande Berg, M., & Paige, R. M. (2009). Applying theory and research: The evolution of intercultural competence in U.S. study abroad. In D. K. Deardorff (Ed.), The SAGE Handbook of Intercultural Competence (pp. 419-437). SAGE Publications Inc. DOI:

Vande Berg, M., Connor-Linton, J., & Paige, R. M. (2009). The Georgetown consortium project: Interventions for student learning abroad. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 18(1), 1-75. DOI:

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

Walters, C., Charles, J., & Bingham, S. (2017). Impact of short-term study abroad experiences on transformative learning: A comparison of programs at 6 weeks. Journal of Transformative Education, 15(2), 103-121. DOI:

Wiley, A. (2017). Validation analysis of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). ACS Ventures, LLC.

Zhang, Y. L. (2016). An overlooked population in community college: International students’ (in)validation experiences with academic advising. Community College Review, 44(2), 153-170. DOI:

Zhang, Y. L., & Dinh, T. V. (2017). Advising international students in engineering programs: Academic advisors’ perceptions of intercultural communication competence. NACADA Journal, 37(2), 33-43. DOI:




How to Cite

Buntain, L. (2023). Anything Students Can Learn, Staff and Faculty Can Learn Too: Intercultural Learning in Staff and Faculty Study Abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 35(1), 30–51.



Research Articles