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Title: Internationalisation and students' intercultural competence development
Authors: Liang, Yuwei
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: In response to marketisation agendas, a considerable body of research now focuses on more values-based and inclusive aspects of higher education (HE) internationalisation. Examples include concepts such as internationalisation at home, internationalisation of the curriculum and students’ internationalised experiences. However, relatively little is known about intercultural competence (IC) as a learning outcome of HE internationalisation, and there is a lack of studies on different student cohorts regarding their IC development (e.g. students from different disciplines, home and international students). The aim of this research was to (a) investigate student and staff perceptions of internationalisation on a ‘home’ campus, and (b) examine whether their international and intercultural experiences contribute to the development of IC. This study adopted a longitudinal mixed methods approach, including a two-stage self-report survey (October and May) and three rounds of semi-structured interviews (October, February, June). The Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (i.e. MPQ) was used to measure students’ IC development over time, while the interviews were designed to monitor students’ intercultural experiences at three stages. In total, 227 students from three disciplines (Business, Education, and Engineering) took part in a pre- and post- survey. Fourteen students and five staff members participated in semi-structured interviews. Findings revealed that staff from both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ disciplines hold similar instructional beliefs, acknowledging the importance of international elements in their teaching and aiming to prepare their students with skills that enable them to work with colleagues from different cultural groups. On the other hand, students’ attitudes towards their experience of internationalisation at the host university changed from positive towards less satisfied after nine months of studies. The study suggests that the degree of internationalisation at a university is not merely reflected in its number of international students (ISs) and the internationalised curriculum, but also in home and international students’ social integration in and out of class. Regarding students’ IC development, findings indicated that although students mostly claimed that they became more open-minded and empathetic towards people from other cultural groups, those from the Engineering discipline demonstrated a significant decrease in open-mindedness (OM). This was mainly related to having ‘negative intergroup contact’ resulting from working in mixed culture groups, lack of social contacts, or experiencing social segregation in and out of class. In addition, ISs showed a significant increase in flexibility (FL) over time. This indicates that ISs have become more adapted both academically and socio-culturally after a period of nine months of studying. The study informed a conceptual model of HE internationalisation that integrates the exploration of student and staff perceptions and experience (i.e. as a process) and the measurement of students’ IC development (i.e. as a learning outcome).
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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