Developing Intercultural Competence and Transformation: Theory, Research, and Application in International Education
Enrollments in international education programs are projected to grow exponentially as students, parents, and university personnel seek to prepare future leaders who can live and work effectively in a global environment. What do we know about the outcomes of such programs, and how can educators become more intentional about designing, and assessing, the impact of such courses? How can we help students achieve the intercultural growth and transformation that they may envision as they set forth on their international sojourn?
International education provides opportunities for students to grow personally, and to learn in a rich and intense educational environment. The outcomes of such opportunities emphasize not only traditional academic competence, but also changes in motivations, attitudes, self-identity, and values. It is these latter, co-academic, concepts that are the focus of this book. Its goal is to give solid substance to the growth and transformation approach to study abroad. It defines the central concept of intercultural competence, sets it within the framework of transformative learning theory, and offers ideas and strategies for facilitating its development. In doing so, it goes far beyond traditional emphases on the achievement of such formal skills as foreign language acquisition or specific knowledge of course content in national literatures, arts, or history.
This book provides study abroad educators with a theoretical framework and examples of practice to craft more meaningful activities that will make a long-term difference in the quality of student experiences, and set the stage for transformative change. If we plan to send a million students a year to study abroad within the decade, we need approaches to maximize student growth outcomes in an efficient and effective way.
It is also relevant for anyone engaged in courses in adult education, college student services, comparative and international education, international business, intercultural relations, and service learning that involve study abroad, and that raise corresponding issues of curriculum design.
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